Mumbai: Thousands of candidates who appeared for the Maharashtra Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) Saturday unaware of the fact that the question paper was leaked and circulated on Whatsapp are in a tizzy as the rumours are rife that the exam may now be held once again.
The officials however are tight-lipped and are neither confirming nor denying the reports published by a section of media that the state education department is considering a re-exam.
"Though there was absolutely no problem with the exam in Nagpur there are strong rumours of the problem being widespread in western Maharashtra and Marathwada. The government may not want to take a chance and order a re-exam", an official is quoted as saying.
According to an official from the Maharashtra State Board of Examination, after the exam started on its scheduled 10.30 am time Saturday, it received information of the questions being circulated on social media through the messaging application Whatsapp since 8 am.
“We were informed at around 10.45 am about the alleged paper leak in Beed. Following this we initiated an inquiry and found that the question paper had indeed gone viral. The board immediately called a meeting to decide on whether a re-examination of the particular paper should be held,” said R.V. Ghodne, chairman of the board.
Soon it was learnt that question paper was also leaked in Pune, Dhule and some other towns in North Maharashtra.
When contacted, Principal Secretary for Education Department, Nand Kumar, confirmed the leak but declined to say anything on re-exam.
"The department has come to know about the leak from people in Pune. We are investigating on how it happened. I have heard about media reports that the leak may have started from Beed but let's see", Kumar said.
“The investigation is on, and further decision about rescheduling of the paper will be taken in due course of time", he added.
Mahavir Mane, Director of Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE), which conduct the examination, said, “The leak was observed in Beed, Dhule and Pune but in other parts of the state the test was conducted smoothly.”
In total 1,74,163, candidates appeared for Paper I on Saturday, he said.
State school education minister Vinod Tawde, who was in Nagpur for a function, said, "A committee has been set up to investigate into the issue. Education secretary Nand Kumar will head the committee and submit a report within 48 hours. We will take strict action against whoever is involved in this, even if they are high ranking officials."
The Maharashtra TET is held in Marathi, English and Urdu three languages since 2014. It comprises of two papers. Paper I is for candidates aspiring for posts of primary teachers, whereas Paper II is for those wanting to be secondary school teachers.
As per the Right to Education Act, 2009, all states have to mandatorily conduct TET for recruitment of teachers to all types of schools. Only candidates who have qualified the TET will be eligible for teaching jobs henceforth.