Technology can help curb mass cheating
No measure should be ruled out to ensure that genuine students don’t suffer
From question paper leaks, to imposters writing papers, to invigilators dictating answers to students, cheating in exams is rampant in India. A few years ago, an educational scandal in Madhya Pradesh saw rigging in exams conducted by the professional exam board, Vyapam. In the capital, aspirants to the staff selection commission are on hunger strike demanding a probe into an alleged leak of a question paper.
Educationists and candidates have been fighting a tough battle against exam malpractices in the country. Technology may yet come to the rescue. Question paper packets of the West Bengal Secondary exams that began on Monday have been fitted with a microchip. West Bengal Board of Secondary Education President Kalyanmoy Ganguly said the microchip will be put on a sticker on the sealed envelope containing the question papers. The chips are GPS-enabled. If the seal is broken, the data will be passed on to the server at the board’s office. In Uttar Pradesh, deterred by stringent anti-cheating measures undertaken by the BJP government including closed circuit televisions and the deployment of and a special task force, 661,643 students failed to show up for the board exams last month. Cut-throat competition in which too many students chase unrealistic grades in board exams for too few college seats means the cheating industry is never short of takers. Are strong measures such as a law that makes cheating in exam an offence punishable by a seven-year jail term, (China adopted this in 2016), the solution? The UP government could implement some provisions of a now-defunct anti-copying law first enacted in 1992 that made invigilators at exam centres where students are caught cheating culpable.
The way to stop cheating is hi-tech security for question papers, deployment of CCTVs and surprise interviews. No measure should be ruled out to ensure that genuine students don’t suffer owing to the actions of those who take the easy way out.