Hornbill Unleashed

November 6, 2014

What happened to UPSR back-up papers, asks DAP lawmaker

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Twelve teachers were detained following the discovery of leaked questions for the UPSR Science, English, Tamil and Mathematics papers which affected 473,175 pupils from 8,384 schools nationwide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 5, 2014.TMI

Twelve teachers were detained following the discovery of leaked questions for the UPSR Science, English, Tamil and Mathematics papers which affected 473,175 pupils from 8,384 schools nationwide.

As two teachers face court today over leaks in the UPSR examination papers, a DAP lawmaker has asked whether the standard practice of preparing multiple sets of question papers was followed to prevent such a fiasco.

Citing media reports, Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari (pic, right) said it was the custom for the examination board to have three sets of examination papers so that a back-up could be used in case a leak was discovered.

“‎Hence, I would like to ask whether UPSR back-up papers were prepared just like for the SPM examinations.

“If yes, then why were the back‎-up papers not used, especially in the case of the Science paper, since the leak was discovered on September 10, a day before pupils were to sit for it?” he asked in a statement.

The DAP assistant publicity chief also asked why the more than 470,000 pupils affected by the leak had to wait nearly a month to re-sit the exam, given that the back-up papers could be used almost immediately.

“The ministry’s unwise response has created much doubt. Hence, the ministry must explain its standard operating procedure in handling public exams,” said Zairil.

He said Putrajaya had to explain why it had chosen not to use the back-up papers, and, if the papers‎ did not exist, why they were not prepared.

“I also reiterate Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang’s call for a royal commission of inquiry to be set up, not only to investigate the leak of the UPSR papers, but to examine the decline of education standards in this country due to policies, inefficient administration and the rampant waste of public funds.”

Police said two teachers would be charged in the Seremban Sessions Court today in connection with the leak under ‎Section 28(3) of the Malaysian Examinations Council Act 1980.

If convicted, the teachers, aged 34 and 36, could be fined not exceeding RM10,000 or sentenced to three years in jail, or both.

T‎he police detained 14 people, including 12 teachers, following the discovery of leaked questions for the Science, English, Tamil and Mathematics papers in September.

The leaks affected 473,175 pupils from 8,384 schools nationwide.

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Gan Kong Meng on September 21 said that the police had interviewed 30 people, investigating them for possible violation of the Official Secrets Act 1972.

Police said they had recorded statements from eight officers from the syndicate, 19 teachers, an officer from the Education Ministry, a journalist and an engineer.

The Malaysian Insider recently reported that 13-year-old Ananda Krishnan Menon, who is diagnosed with dyslexia, is suing the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate and Putrajaya for negligence over the leaks.

Ananda, of Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr Ismail, said in his suit that he suffered from emotional and mental stress as a result of the examination fiasco.

The suit was filed through his mother, K. Managala Bhavani.

On October 3, The Edge Financial Daily reported that three sets of examina‎tion papers were usually prepared so that a back-up could be used if there was a leak.

Quoting sources, the paper said authorities had immediately mitigated a leak during the Bahasa Melayu SPM examinations ‎in Sarawak in 2004, without raising a ruckus.

A former senior assistant who was a Selangor examination area inspector at the time said she was called up in the middle of the night to secretly go to Port Klang to receive the new set of question papers on the eve of the examinations.

“Not even the schools’ examination chiefs were aware that an exchange had occurred in the middle of the night. And it was a nationwide operation – in the span of one night all the original papers were switched to the back-up copies without any outsiders’ knowledge,” said the former civil servant.‎

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