The Dinajpur Education Board has suspended four Secondary School Certificate tests after recovering the question papers for those subjects from a school in Kurigram's Bhurungamari Upazila.
Local administration officials found the exam papers in the headmaster's room at Nehal Uddin Pilot Girls High School on Tuesday. They later started a case with Bhurungamari Police Station over the matter.
The school's Headmaster Lutfar Rahman, English teacher Aminur Rahman Russell and contractual teacher Zubair Hossain were arrested in connection with the case.
On Wednesday, Dinajpur Education Board's Chairman Kamrul Islam announced the postponement of the four exams.
"A case has been filed on the advice of Kurigram's deputy commissioner and superintendent of police in connection with question paper leaks," he said at a media briefing.
The four subjects are mathematics, physics, agricultural science and chemistry. The assessments were slated to be held from Sept 22 to Sept 26.
New dates for the postponed exams will be announced soon, according to Kamrul. All other tests will go ahead as scheduled.
“An inquiry committee will be constituted by the board regarding the question paper leak. Further action will be taken on the basis of the committee's report,” Kamrul said.
Addressing the matter, Bhurungamari Police Station chief Alamgir Hossain said, "On Tuesday night, the tag officer of the current SSC exams, Adam Malik Chowdhury, filed the case against four teachers and around 10 to 12 unidentified individuals."
Police brought two more teachers, Hamidul Islam and Sohail Al Mamun, in for questioning early on Wednesday morning. Another suspect in the case, the school's clerk Abu Hanif, is on the run.
Secondary and Higher Education Secretary Md Abu Bakr Siddique sounded helpless when asked what measures they had taken to prevent question paper leaks.
“The secretaries of the centres are responsible for this job [distribution of question papers]. We have to assign someone for this job. If they do these things [leak question papers], what can we do?" Abu Bakr said, while speaking to journalists after a workshop at Residential Model College in Dhaka.
He said the secretary of the centre where the question papers were found took the papers from the locker.
“Question papers of different subjects are kept in large foil paper envelopes. The centre secretaries insert the question papers into the envelopes.”
He said such an incident occurred in one out of 4,000 centres. "We need to think about ways to stop such question paper leaks from happening in other centres."
However, he sees a difference in this year's question papers leak. In previous years, leaked question papers were spread on the internet while this time the papers remained in one centre.
The secretary admitted they initially did not take the matter seriously after the allegations of question paper leak were reported.
“I received a report from police a day earlier and doubted it. There were information that a faction of journalists were publishing reports on question paper leaks to humiliate another faction.”
Abu Bakr said the deputy commissioner, chairman of the education board, police and others confirmed the reports later.
Dinajpur education board formed a three-strong committee to investigate the incident, but the education ministry will not look into the matter formally now as police investigation is ongoing, Abu Bakr said.