By: Ravinder Vasudeva
Shimla: Unconfirmed reports about Himachal Pradesh Combined Entrance Test (HPCPMT)-2009 paper leak have again rocked the state, leaving uncertainty over the future of hundreds of students. Acting sharply on the grievances of parents of some students, the state government has set an enquiry into the matter which will be conducted by Additional Director General of Police (CID).
This alleged scam came out when on June 8 parents of some of the students who have appeared for the paper lodged a complaint with the vice-chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University about the suspected paper leak. They also sent the copy of this complaint to the chief minister of the state and to CBI.
According to the complainants, 22 candidates from a Shimla-based coaching centre have made it to the merit list for the examination. As per their allegations, it is almost impossible to get 390 marks in biology out of 400, as has been in the case with one student, especially when the exam has a negative marking system.
“I have received complaints about the leakage of PMT paper by some parents. After finding the complaints I discussed the issue with the chief minister, who has ordered an enquiry into the matter,” said vice-chancellor of HPU, Prof Sunil Kumar Gupta. He maintained that the university administration had taken all precautions to conduct the PMT examinations in a fair manner.
The Himachal Pradesh PMT had run into a similar controversy in 2006 when a group of students cried foul over the suspected paper leak then. At that time, the BJP, then in opposition, had accused the Congress government of dragging its feet on the matter.
Interestingly, the then vice-chancellor of HP University, Prof LR Verma, had washed off his hands of the leak after an internal inquiry by a former registrar. It was only after the HP High Court intervened that the government set an inquiry into the matter.
After the preliminary inquiry, several high-profile people were found involved in the leak and more than a hundred people arrests were made. In the meanwhile, the original PMT exam was annulled and a re-test was conducted, which laid bare most of the accused who had cleared the first test in 2006. The case is now being heard in the High Court.
Whatever be the outcome of the case, there are a few questions that nag us long after these cases are settled. One of the most nagging of these is apart from the PMT there are several exams and entrance tests being conducted elsewhere, so what is the guarantee that these are not being leaked? Are annual school exam question papers being leaked? Are nursery entrance tests being leaked? No one can say no without hesitating.
Howsoever stringent fool-proof systems we may develop, the sad fact is our human resource responsible for implementation of those checks will always be vulnerable to allurements. So what do we do? At stake are thousands of careers.
At stake is hard work of thousands of students who slog and sweat. Most importantly, at stake is the faith of these students in the system they’ll be a part of.