Millions to resit exams in India after leak

NEW DELHI • India vowed yesterday to strengthen its online security after high school examination papers were leaked ahead of crucial tests, forcing millions of students to resit their finals.

Mr Prakash Javadekar, the minister in charge of education, said a probe was under way into how the maths and economics papers were accessed and spread via WhatsApp before the exam. "The criminals who did this won't be spared. I am sure the police will catch these people soon. Let me assure that we will further improve the system and make it foolproof," he said yesterday.

It is another embarrassment for a government that has weathered storms around alleged cracks in its Aadhaar system, a database containing the personal details of more than one billion Indians.

It comes as Facebook is reeling from a scandal over user data and India's political parties accuse one another of mining and sharing followers' personal information.

The row erupted last weekend after a French security researcher flagged flaws with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal app, alleging that users' data was being shared without their consent.

Mr Rahul Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, used the exam leak to revive attacks on Mr Modi's administration over digital security. "2.8 million students to take exams again!! I mean is it a bloody joke? Who is accountable for this big mess?" he posted on Twitter.

The Central Board of Secondary Education papers are crucial for students hoping to secure admission into some of India's most prestigious public universities and there was widespread anger over the leak.

Mr Javadekar said he "understood the pain and anguish and frustration" of parents and students following the breach.

Cheating in exams, including paying bribes to buy test papers, is common in India.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2018, with the headline 'Millions to resit exams in India after leak'. Print Edition | Subscribe