Three days after the English exam, a red-faced Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) Pune admitted its mistake.
A seven-mark question in one of the four sets of English papers of Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam was wrong. The 80-mark English paper was held on February 23 and over 12 lakh students took the exam. The blunder by the paper setters left students confused and stressed, resulting in a waste of time.
The wrong set was distributed to over 3 lakh students at all exam centres across the state. As per the rule, all four sets (A, B, C, D) were given to all centres and about 25% of the candidates got set B of the paper.
Question number 5 in the set was unseen passage. The four questions based on this passage were out of context and thus gave a tough time to students.
The board admitted its mistake when some students approached the media, which in turn approached the board for clarification.
“Out of the four sets of question papers, one set carried the wrong questions (question number 5). We have instructed all evaluators to give full seven marks to those students who attempted the question,” said Sarjerao Jadhav, chairman of MSBSHSE.
Strict action would be taken against the careless paper setter, he added.
“Paper setting is a very crucial job as there are lakhs of students appearing the exams. All paper setters must take utmost care so that not a single error is left.”
He refused to divulge any detail about the punishment.
Board papers are usually set by a group of paper setters. As per the MSBSHSE rules, errant paper setters are blacklisted for ever. They will also have to refund the money given to them by the board for setting the paper.
Sahil Tembe, a student of a Thane college who attempted question 5, said: “I am relieved. But the what about the time which was lost due to this question.”
Another student said: “This is unfair as I didn’t attempt the question after noticing the mistake. Had I attempted it, I too would have got seven marks.”