Atanu Dey On India's Development

Simple Encrypted Exam Questions System

The recent spate of leaked exam papers is crying out for a solution. Here is my proposal. It is simple and cheap and will avoid the humongous costs of leaked questions.

Where does the problem manifest itself? At the printing press to begin with and in all the intermediate locations till one gets to the exam hall. Do we still need to rely on printing the question paper at a centralized location and then have complicated logistics of safely transporting these to dozens of examination centers and guard against leaks? Clearly there are cheaper alternatives. My proposal is to use ICT. Here is what you do.

Publish the exam questions on the internet. That way you avoid having to send papers to the printers, then having them sent to various examination centers, and so on.

This method avoids the need to print it centrally. Just download it from the web to your local computer at your convenience. Then print out the question paper and hand it over to the students and there you have solved the problem of leaked exams.

Simple, you say. But then add, everyone and his brother will have access to the web and all the questions will be public knowledge.

OK, I say, I forgot an important intermediate step. Put an encrypted version of the paper on the web. Every examination center could then download a copy of the encrypted paper. Then at an appropriate time, a key will also be made available on the web — say, an hour before the start of the exam. Download the key, decrypt the paper, print out a copy, run however many through a copier, and you have an almost foolproof system of delivering exam questions without leaks.

This system has only one requirement: that the key be in safe custody. But it is trivial to guard one key instead of having to see that the paper is not leaked in the hundreds of locations where the current system is vulnerable.

I call it the SEEQS — Simple Encrypted Exam Questions System which is pronounced ‘seeks’.