The recent case of missing answers sheets for Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English II of the 40 students of Trashitse Higher Secondary School in Trashigang has been taken over by the Royal Bhutan Police headquarters in Thimphu after the complaint was lodged with the Police in Gelephu.
Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering said, “We don’t know how far the investigation has been done, but we should be able to identify the culprit and fix him or her. It is of huge disappointment to all of us, and such things cannot be accepted”.
The Prime Minister (PM) said there is no other option than to let students retake the exam. The 40 students reappeared for the exam on 19 January, which will end on 22 January 2023. However, the students were given counselling before retaking the exam.
PM said the same teachers will be evaluating their answer sheets, and also asked the education ministry to go through the exams and tests taken by those 40 students over the course of one year, where the students have taken five exams and take average marks of the four subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English II).
For instance, if a student has done well in those four subjects in the exam during a one-year course, and if he or she does not do well in the exam that they have reappeared, then he or she will be given the marks scored in the exams, which they have done in a year. This is because a student may have scored low due to stress, and the situation created by someone else which has hampered his or her exam.
Marks may be given based on the other exams done, and not necessarily from the one-time exam done. However, this is not decided yet but that is also an option, said PM.
The 2022 BHSEC examination was completed on 31 December 2022. The assessment of all the answer scripts of 84 schools began on 6 January 2023 and is being conducted by BCSEA at Losel Gyatsho Academy in Sarpang.
On 13 January 2023, while preparing for the distribution of answer scripts for evaluation, BCSEA officials upon opening the consignment of Trashitse HSS discovered that four BCSEA examination envelopes containing answer scripts for the subjects English II, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics were missing, which affects 40 students of Class 12.
BCSEA immediately contacted the Supervising Examiner and school authority regarding the matter. An internal investigation was also immediately conducted to assess if all necessary security protocols and standard operating procedures were adhered to about the answer scripts being securely packed, stored and handed over to Bhutan Post for secure delivery to the BCSEA marking venue. It was found that the secured boxes had been intentionally tampered with, and specific examination envelopes for certain subjects had been removed.
An emergency meeting was held on 14 January 2023 chaired by PM, and attended by minister, senior officials of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, BCSEA and the Principal of Trashitse HSS, to assess the incident.
The meeting decided that the incident needed a thorough investigation by the police due to criminal intent as the secure boxes had been tampered with, and a case has been filed by BCSEA with the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in Gelephu. It was decided that for the affected students, a re-examination will be conducted based on standby question papers. The assessment for the students appearing for the re-examination will also take into account their performance during the course of the school year so that they are fairly assessed.
Meanwhile, PM apologized to the students and the families who had to go through stress. “We feel bad about the mishap, and we will make sure that he or she is caught and make sure such an incident won’t happen in the future, and also make sure, the nation knows what we will be doing to the culprit.”