China busts 2,440 students in high-tech exam cheat scam

Exam Cheating

Some 2,440 Chinese students taking a national exam have been caught using high-tech cheating gear. The state media have reported that invigilators detected abnormal radio signals that were being used to transmit coded answers to candidates, who wore wireless ear pieces or placed “electronic erasers” on their desks.

More than 25,000 students took the exam for licensed pharmacists in the northwestern city of Xian on October 18 and 19. The test was held in seven locations. Organisers of the scam sent fake candidates to take the test, who quickly left after memorising questions. They later broadcast the correct answers to candidates who paid $330 (about sh29511) for the service.

Jiang Xueqin, a Being-based education consultant, said China’s high stakes, exam-focused educational system has led to a culture of cheating.

“Most examples are not as flagrant or as stack as this but cheating is widespread because the focus is on getting the certification, not the skills you need in the work place.”

Test centres for China’s notoriously competitive university entrance exam use metal detectors to clamp down on cheating devices, with security often tighter than at airports, Xueqin said.

Nor do parents always frown upon such scams. When authorities tried to stop cheats in the city of Zhongxiang in Hubei, a riot broke out involving parents angry that their children were being singled out when everyone was cheating.

Those caught cheating in the national licensing exam would not be allowed to re-take the paper for two years, said Du Fangshuai, head of the provincial examination department.



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