Rinzin Wangchuk

As the 41 students of Tashitse Higher Secondary School in Wamrong, Trashigang re-appear for their class XII board examinations, the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) is collecting biometric data from teachers who were on evaluation duties in Gelephu.

More than 1,600 teachers were in Gelephu for the evaluation of Class VIII, X and XII examination papers. The two-week-long evaluation conducted by Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) ended yesterday.

A teacher, who was on his way home from the evaluation camp, said that the police had taken his fingerprints or biometric data yesterday.

It is a part of an ongoing investigation to find out how the answer scripts of four subjects from Trashitse HSS went missing. However, both police in Gelephu and Trashigang are yet to establish from where the answer scripts were tampered.

A Kuensel source said that once they established the place of occurrence, police can then register the case either in Wamrong or Gelephu.

While updating the status of the investigation during the 48th meet the press yesterday, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that the police at the headquarters in Thimphu took over the investigation from Gelephu police since the answer scripts disappearance is a serious crime.   “The culprit should be identified and brought to justice,” Lyonchhen said.

While preparing for the evaluation of scripts on January 13, BCSEA officials when opening the consignment of Tashitse HSS found that four BCSEA examination envelopes containing answer scripts of English II, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics were missing. They found 40 answer scripts of English II, 25 each of Physics and Chemistry, and 15 answer scripts of Mathematics were missing.

The BCSEA then decided to conduct the re-examinations for the four papers on January 19, 20, 21 and 22. Three students opted to re-appear for the board examinations at Losel Gyatsho Academy in Gelephu while 38 students including a supplement student sit for the exams at Trashitse School.

One supplement student is re-appearing examinations for three missing answer scripts: Physics; Chemistry; and Mathematics. The remaining 40 students had to re-sit for the English II examination papers as well. The re-examination will end tomorrow.

Lyonchhen said that the answer scripts will have to be evaluated by the teachers who are on evaluation duty only. “The evaluation cannot be done by whoever is available,” Lyonchhen said adding that the assessment for the students reappearing for the examinations will also take into account their performance during the course of the school year so that they are fairly assessed.

According to a press release from the education and skill development ministry (MoESD) last week, an internal investigation was conducted to assess if all necessary security protocols and standard operating procedures were adhered to with regard to 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.

The BCSEA then filed a complaint with the police in Gelephu.