The Class XII chemistry paper, released two days ago on ShareChat and widely circulated, was the same as that given during the exam on Friday, teachers confirmed.
The half-yearly exams for Classes XI and XII began on December 11 and on December 13 for Class X.
“There was no leak of question papers till language exams. But, for the past one week almost all the question papers were on social media apps a day in advance,” a teacher said.
Some private schools printed new question papers and gave them to students after the Class X science and Class XI chemistry papers were out a few days earlier.
“The question papers have been leaked by some anti-social elements continuously. We changed the papers after they were out on social media. Many students were in tears after getting the new papers,” said N Vijayan, principal of Zion Matric Higher Secondary School in Tambaram. “School education department should strengthen confidentiality measures and prevent such leaks in future,” he added.
A Peter Raja, president of Tamil Nadu High School and Higher Secondary Schools Headmasters’ Association, said such leaks would destroy the confidence in the exam system.
The exam papers were printed by confidential printers and distributed to districts just a few days before the exam, with each centre monitored by armed police and CCTV cameras.
“The directorate of government examinations has only prepared the common question papers and handed over CDs to the district examination committee. The question papers were printed at district level,” an official said.
A chief educational officer said it was difficult to identify the source of the leak. “We have checked the font and print of the papers. Every leaked paper looks the same,” an official said, adding that the papers were leaked after printing.
“Either the leak is at the printing press or in schools where the papers are kept. We must ensure confidentiality in printing of papers,” another official said. He also suggested preparing and issuing question papers at district level to avoid leaks. “If the papers are at district level, it would be hard to spread and the officials can be held responsible. In the present case, it is difficult to trace the culprits.”
Headmasters said most rural students were not aware of the leak and it was only the urban students who spread the leaked papers.
“The new question paper pattern is not on memory-based questions alone. Even if they know the questions, it is difficult to answer. But, it is a serious challenge to the examination system. The department should view it seriously,” a headmaster from a city school said.