Almost a month has gone by after the alleged question paper leak at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Common Admission Test (LCAT), but nothing substantial has yet been found by the committee probing the case.
LUMS Vice Chancellor Dr Adil Najam, talking to The Express Tribune on Tuesday, said that the investigation will continue until new evidence was found. However, he said, the university administration was confident that the alleged leak did not affect the admission process.
Dr Najam said that so far no proof of leak has been established. Some students, however, did use certain tactics to “steal” questions from the LCAT, he added.
He said that certain students sat in the LCAT, later shared the test question with some test preparatory centres. He said some preparatory centres also gave a false impression of having “associations” and “linkages” with the LUMS administration to encourage more students to attend their test sessions.
Allegations of the leak surfaced after one of the preparatory centres gave its students a practice test which contained questions in the actual LCAT that next day on February 12.
A student who sat the LCAT claimed that the practice test at the centre had some 80 questions that were in the LCAT. Some other students claimed that some of the questions were a part of the practice tests given at some coaching academies.
Mahmood Akram of the Leads Academy, whose name has been associated with the practice test, denied benefiting from a leak. He put the ‘overlap’ down to LUMS and the academies using similar test books to compile their tests.
Dr Najam said the ‘overlap’ happened because the centres used previous years’ LCAT papers. He said the practice was “illegal” and “immoral”.
“All questions that appear in the LCAT are property of LUMS,” he said.
Arif Jalil Piracha, founder of the Smart Prep academy, sent letters to the prime minister, the chief minister, the Higher Education Commission secretary, the federal education secretary and Syed Babar Ali, pro-chancellor and one of the LUMS founding members, on February 18, seeking “appropriate action” and “arrest of the culprits”. Piracha regretted that he had not received any response from any of the parties he had sent the letter to.
“We sent the letters on the insistence of some parents, whose children took the LCAT this year,” he said.
Similar letters, calling for action, were sent to nine leading schools across Lahore.
“We are hurt and shocked at the situation. With a premier institution like LUMS, we expected swift action by the stakeholders,” he said.
LUMS administration has assured its students and parents that the integrity of their system was not compromised. However, Dr Najam said, “LUMS has learnt to be more vigilant.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.