BIEK officials collude with ‘agent mafia’ in cheating, exam malpractices:

KARACHI:July 3: Private agents in collusion with officials of the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) were allegedly involved in cheating and other malpractices during examinations for huge financial gains, says an inquiry report prepared by the police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) recently.
Sources quoting the contents of the report told Dawn on Sunday that at least 23 officials of the board, five education department officials and ‘private agent mafia’ were involved in “paper leaks, change of student (through fake admit card), change of examination centre of students’ choice, enhancing marks after the conclusion of the papers, organising large-scale cheating and other malpractices relating to appearing in the examination and its passing”.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, taking cognisance of the cheating through WhatsApp by the students during recently held examinations and leaking of examination papers, had ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Additional IGP CTD Sindh Dr Sanaullah Abbasi assigned this inquiry to the SSP Investigation CTD, Naveed Ahmed Nisar Khowaja.

The report has been submitted to the chief minister through home department recently, sources familiar with this development told Dawn.

The inquiry was divided into three parts.

Pre-paper leak

​The CTD report pointed out that technical evidence, collected during the inquiry, did not provide any clue of leaking of any examination paper from the Karachi Board. However, the technical evidence showed leaking of paper (pre-paper leak) from Hyderabad Board.

​​The news of paper leak and cheating by students was broken by the media.

During the inquiry, forensic analysis of the cell phones of four persons (allegedly involved in the paper leak and providing cheating material to students via WhatsApp) was carried out that revealed the malpractices.

Regarding the use of Indian SIM cards, the sources said that one suspect had established contact with two Indian cell phone numbers to collect the cheating material. However, no such material was uploaded on his cell phone from the Indian cell phones.

“These Indian cell phones were not found operating within the cyber/cellular space of Pakistan.”

Post-paper leak

​​The CTD claimed that post-paper leak was a common phenomenon “due to lack of control of the staff conducting the examination”, especially in areas such as Gadap, Malir, Steel Town, Korangi and Jogi Mor, where it was a common practice that students take a photo of the examination paper as soon as they obtain it and then send it to their group from where they receive solved papers.

“This is a common practice which exists uncontrolled everywhere in the city as the students easily take their cell phones inside the examination centres.”

Role of private agents

​The CTD inquiry report said that “a private agent mafia” thrived around educational institutes and played a bridge between the board officials/staff and students, aiding in the malpractices.

It claimed there were at least nine such private agents, including one who was a private school teacher involved in such malpractices.

​​These agents had links with board officials and education staffs who were involved in paper leaks and other illegal activities such as change of candidate through fake admit card, change of centre and facilitating the student to indulge in cheating for monetary gains.

​​“The forensic analysis of phone calls of such nine agents proved their contact with certain board officials and education staff,” sources quoting the CTD report said.

Role of officials

The report pointed out there were five officials of education department who were allegedly found involved in paper leaks, facilitating the students to indulge in cheating and other malpractices. While there were at least 23 officials of the Intermediate Board working in different sections who were allegedly involved.

However, the board officials told the CTD inquiry team that only three staff members of the board were involved in such malpractices and departmental action against them was under process. The culprits were absconding since the breaking of news of paper leaks and other malpractices including cheating by students.

Professors’ association

The board officials also told the inquiry team that they had posted 13 professors as CCO and centre superintendents of different colleges and higher secondary schools in various areas on the “recommendation and influence” of one senior office-bearer of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association.

​​During the CTD inquiry, it was transpired that students have created groups on Whatsapp to receive and send cheating material. The students were also found involved in all the above mentioned malpractices with the help of board officials/staff and agent mafia. They used social media for this job.Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2017.