After facing issues last year, ranging from wrong questions papers being handed to students to a hacker mining marks data, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE) has introduced unique identification (UID) numbers for Class 10 and 12 students.
This is aimed at speeding up evaluation and ensuring confidentiality. CISCE chief executive Gerry Arathoon said UIDs are random numbers with no bearing on the students' centres or roll numbers. "The numbers are in no particular order and are unique to the student. This means no one else will be able to access their marks from the council website. The examiner will not know the identity of the student or the school," he said.
Shobana R, a teacher from an ICSE-affiliated school in Chennai, said the increased anonymity provided by the UID is a welcome move. "Every year, we get parents who tell us that they know their children's ranks and say they checked other children's marks through their roll numbers. This was relatively easy to do because the numbers were in sequential order and bore details like the centre's name," said Shobana. "Parents of students who did not fare well were a little upset by what was going on."
"The seven-digit UID will remain with the student for life, even if they want duplicates of their marksheets or change their names and want marksheets re-issued in their new names," said Narendra Kumar, director of Orion India Systems, which has been hired by CISCE for the process. "The UIDs are also an attempt to speed up evaluation and re-evaluation processes. Now there are 650 evaluation centres and so re-evaluation takes 20-25 days. We hope to reduce it to less than a day," he said.
Arathoon said the council has also sent out instructional videos to schools on the dos and don'ts for the entire examination process. "We do not want a repeat of what happened the last time, when a wrong question paper was handed out to Class 12 students in Lucknow. We have circulated a CD to supervising examiners at the 2000-odd schools affiliated to the council. The CD, complete with live visuals, explains how supervisors should collect question papers, deposit it in the principal's cupboard, how students need to fill in the forms and how to pack the answer scripts," said Arathoon.
The board's Class 12 ISC exams are due to begin in a couple of days while the Class 10 ICSE exams will begin in March. Around 70,000 students will appear for the ISC exam and 1,50,000 for the ICSE exam.