Tech­nol­ogy can help curb mass cheat­ing

No mea­sure should be ruled out to en­sure that gen­uine stu­dents don’t suf­fer

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Comment -

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.

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