Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University introduces Digital Question Papers

Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University introduces Digital Question Papers

Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University will introduce, on a trial basis, digital question papers for Post-Graduate and Dental Courses in select institutions this February.

This is the first time it is attempting to secure delivery of digital question papers, Vice-Chancellor Meer Mustafa Hussain told The Hindu. “We are moving ahead, to more modern means of testing. And in the process we tighten security and save money spent on the massive delivery process as well,” he added.

As a pilot project, the university will put on the Internet encrypted question papers that examination centres will be allowed to download, print and distribute to examinees.

“We are getting rid of the old practice of sending bulky bundles of question papers through post to the various centres. There are a number of ways for the papers to leak out through that process as we have seen in the past,” Dr. Hussain said.

The digital paper will be transmitted online to institutions a day or two in advance. Since it is encrypted, the file cannot be downloaded immediately. On the morning of the examination, the varsity will provide the password to each institution an hour before it commences.

At the examination centre, invigilators are expected to download a single copy and use a high-speed copier to print copies.

The expertise for digital papers, encryption and transfer comes from a Bangalore-based firm, which has successfully helped run the project for the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore. The National Informatics Centre will be closely monitoring the security issues.

Initially, around 20 institutions will use the digital files during the February examinations. Three trials will be conducted to make sure that hacking is ruled out and that all the employees are trained to execute it without hitches.

During the trial phase, one hard copy will be sent by courier to each institution to be opened in case anything goes wrong with the digital file. If everything works out well during the February experiment, all 250 colleges will be integrated into the digital question paper format during exams in August.

“We will save nearly Rs.5.5 lakh by giving up the conventional method and switching over to digital transfer,” Dr. Hussain said.