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In March this year, national level board of education in India, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), came under severe attack from students across the country when the economics paper of the Class XII and math paper of Class X were leaked in March and a re-examination was ordered.

Back then, a seven-member committee was formed who then recommended a number of measures to prevent paper leaks and the human resource development (HRD) ministry of India studied the suggestions. CBSE also announced that it is contemplating to stop printing question papers at their end and instead send paper CDs to the exam centres, just an hour before the exam.

Now, in an outcome above series of events, CBSE has partnered with Microsoft India to digitally encrypt question papers for Class X and XII examinations to enhance security and seamless distribution of the papers. The entire process can be digitally monitored using a software solution that’s built on Windows 10 and Office 365.

CBSE will use Office 365 to add two-layered security to question papers and digitally distribute them across examination centers. Office 365 is a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft, as part of the Microsoft Office product line in its Windows operating system.

Interestingly, Aadhaar identification system, which itself is in continuous doubts and scrutiny from security experts across the globe, can be used for authentification of students, told Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) and Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, to news agency IANS in a telephonic interaction.

However, Bhansali also added, “The system allows various authentification process. For example, it can be OTP (one-time password) based or biometric based. It is up to the clients what two authentification process they want to choose,”

Also Read – Digital Transformation To Add $154 Billion To India’s GDP By 2021 – Microsoft

Notably, the exam encryption and distribution solution to be implemented was successfully tested as a pilot project in the recently held Class X compartmental examinations, across 487 examination centers with approximately 4,000 students.

The Controller of Examination can track the entire process using a software solution built on Windows 10 and Office 365. The overall process was automated to be highly secure with encryption, two-factor authentication and access to download the exam papers at the examination center only 30 minutes prior to start time.

The solution leverages features in Office 365 to encrypt and watermark the papers. The watermark has the individual center’s code imprinted on it which allows for localization and traceability in the eventuality of a paper leak. A CBSE administrator initiates the distribution of exam papers, which results in the generation of emails to the respective centers with a link to OneDrive, a file-hosting service operated by Microsoft, where an exam paper specific to the exam center can be downloaded. This digitization process saves significant time and cost for exam administrators due to online paper generation, automated delivery process and reduction in approval cycles.

Commenting on the partnership Anil Bhansali, Corporate Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) Private Limited said, “A strong education ecosystem is key to our nation’s development and Microsoft and CBSE are deeply committed to digitally transform the sector. Innovative implementation of technology has the potential to solve some of the most pressing issues faced by the sector. The success of this partnership with CBSE is proof of that potential. I am confident we are well on the way towards a digitally empowered education ecosystem.”

For the pilot test, multiple mock trials were conducted before the Class X compartmental examination date, with the entire CBSE team including various exam centers along with Microsoft experts to ensure seamless adoption and familiarity with the process. The solution was deployed by CBSE without a security breach.

Widespread adoption of this solution can transform the education sector and essentially change the way students in India take their exams.

Microsoft is working closely with public and private institutions to help modernize education, impart ICT skills training and provide low or no cost technology that helps students with immersive learning, educators with engaging teaching methods, and administrators with efficient management tools.

Source – Microsoft News Center India | References – Gadgets360

[Top Image – 7cNews.in]

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IW2 Research Team
A group of researchers at IndianWeb2.com including the Editor.

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