January 23, 2018, 7:05 pm
In a desperate bid to plug question leaks, the government plans to shut Facebook and other social media sites during the Secondary School Certificate and equivalent exams this year.
The school-leaving exams are set to start on Feb 1.
“We will request those who operate Facebook to shut it for a limited time,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told the media on Tuesday.
Explaining the planned outage for a ‘limited time’, he said they are trying to analyse when the leaked questions appear on the social media before the tests and considering ways to block access to those sites during that time.
“It can be just for an hour or two,” Nahid said adding they were “very desperate and very aggressive” on the matter.
In the last few years, the questions of public exams have leaked on the internet the night before the tests, which can be found on Facebook in the morning.
Asked whether a clampdown for one or two hours will actually work, Nahid cited some research that found the leaked questions usually appear on the social media just before the dawn and early in the morning.
“Questions for the exam centres in remote areas are dispatched early in the morning. It has been found that the ones which appear then resemble the original questions.”
Students have to enter the centres half an hour before the tests or else they will be barred from taking the exams.
Nahid advised students and parents to keep in mind the traffic and the distance of their centres to reach in time.
“The students must take their seats by 9:30am for the tests which will start at 10.”
He said centre secretaries will not be allowed to open the sealed envelopes containing the questions before 9:30am. “If that happens it will be considered an offence and legal measures will be initiated.”