On July 6, BBA students of the Modern Nepal College in Kathmandu were surprised to see their question papers during their 6th-semester exam of Organisational Behaviour (MGT 203). They were not surprised because the questions were tough. They were surprised because they had attempted the same question paper in the pre-board exam held a few months ago.
Three days after that incident, the students saw another repeated question set for their paper Nepalese Society and Politics. It was as same as the question set given to the students during last year’s board exams.
The country’s oldest university, Tribhuvan University (TU), is notorious for several problems including procrastinating its duties related to conducting exams and publishing results. But recently, it is being heavily criticised for being negligent in setting up question papers for the board exams as there have been repeated complaints of old question papers being used in multiple exams this year.
Since June alone, four similar incidents have been reported.
On June 1 and June 6, the students doing masters in economics and political science also faced a similar case. The question paper for Public Economics was repeated for the economics students. Similarly, the students of master in political science were also asked a repeated question set for International Politics; they were the same questions that the last year’s students attempted in the final exam.
These recent incidents show the TU’s degree of negligence and insincerity regarding the exam. The TU has already cancelled the BBA exam that was held on July 6 and has scheduled a re-exam on July 17. No such decision has been made for the humanities faculty.
The Humanities Dean’s Office said it began to conduct an investigation regarding the matter a month ago. However, till now, it has not produced any report. The officials have instead put the blame on teachers assigned to prepare the question sets.
The university, however, treated the issue of repeated question sets during the BBA exam seriously. The Management Dean’s Office says it formed a high-level committee to probe the reasons.
“The matter of BBA was learnt immediately. Hence, TU rescheduled an exam,” TU Rector Shiva Bhusal says.
However, there has not been any rescheduling of those exams in the humanities stream. Bhusal informs, “We came to know about it late. And none of the students complained about it or demanded a re-exam.”
Who is at fault?
In this old institution, the concerned dean’s office asks for different sets of questions from a group of teachers. Then, the dean’s office randomly selects the question papers for the specific subject to be used in the board examination. This process, according to the educationists, is unscientific.
“Teachers send readymade questions, being insincere, just to make things easy for them. It is their negligence that they do not hesitate to send repeated question papers already used in previous examinations,” says Shiva Bhusal, the TU rector. “Since the dean’s office receives different sets of questions from the teachers, they are not able to separate the new questions from the old ones.”
Some questions might be repeated deliberately, but a completely repeated question paper shows their negligence, Bhusal adds. He says in such cases, the university should schedule a re-exam immediately.
Educationist Bidya Nath Koirala also dubs Bhusal. “Alongside the negligence of teachers, the traditional pattern of setting questions is also another reason behind such blunders of asking repeated question sets,” says Koirala.
To avoid such mistakes, Koirala advises the university to change the question pattern and use technology that could detect repeated questions.
“Examing students with leaked questions is unfair because some of them would already be aware of the questions,” says Koirala. “Moreover, such a practice poses questions on the quality of our education system.”
But again, the re-exams for political science and economics students who saw repeated questions have not been scheduled yet.
Professor Kusum Shakya, the dean of the Faculty of Humanities, says she does not have any idea about the mistakes made while preparing the question papers.
But, Bhusal informs the university is conducting an investigation regarding the issue of repeated question sets and it will make the report public very soon.
Shakya says she will also study the report and do the needful.