Extreme measures to crack down on exam cheats around the world

SINGAPORE - Performing well in academic examinations is the surest ticket to a better life.

For countries with large cohorts such as China and India - where many hopefuls often battle for a coveted place in prestigious institutions - sophisticated cheating schemes have emerged to fleece examiners.

To counter such acts, the authorities in many of these countries often adopt measures that can be intrusive.

For instance, a student from Kerala state in India was forced to remove her bra and metal jeans button in public, moments before sitting an important medical college entrance test.

Metal hooks on her undergarment and the jeans button had set off a metal detector used to screen students entering the examination hall on Sunday (May 7).

In a more malicious incident, two students at the University of Kentucky were nabbed for sneaking into an instructor's office on May 3, hoping to steal a copy of the final exam paper for a statistics class.

To deter cheating, here are four drastic solutions exasperated examination boards worldwide have sprung for:

1. Drones to aid human invigilators


A drone with cameras and wireless signal scanning equipment above a school in China. PHOTO: AFP

The Guardian reported that college entrance exams in Luoyang, in China's Henan province, were conducted outdoors in June 2015 to deter cheating.

Luoyang is said to be the city that holds entrance exams for the most students in China.

In addition to human invigilators, sophisticated drones with cameras and wireless signal scanning equipment were deployed.

The scanning equipment helped the authorities monitor wireless transmissions within the examination area, to deter the use of discreet wireless receivers to send questions out and receive answers.

2. Stripping for tests

Applicants for an army clerk position in India's Bihar state were confronted with an unusual prerequisite for their written test.

Before entering the test grounds (the test was conducted outdoors), they had to strip to their underwear, which was all they wore for the duration of the test.

The Indian Express' sources claimed that far more prospective clerks turned up than expected and the order was made to "save time on frisking so many people".

A legal complaint was filed, with the Indian government demanding an explanation from the country's army chief, reported The Tribune India.

3. Jail for exam cheats 

Cheaters in China will now stand to be jailed for their offence.

Amendments to the country's Criminal Law, which came into force last year, will see cheaters face up to seven years in jail.

They can also be banned from taking other national education exams for three years, in a move that seeks to provide the ultimate deterrence against cheating.

Said the state-run Global Times: "Educational authorities believe that by dangling the prospect of a harsh punishment in front of the test-takers, it will safeguard the fairness of the tests, widely seen as an important part of social justice."

4. Exam papers under guard


An armed security officer accompanies Kenyan teachers who have collected the examination papers for the day, to prevent the papers from being leaked.  PHOTO: YOUTUBE/KENYAN CITIZEN TV

In Kenya, examination papers are kept in double-locked containers that can be opened only by education officials.

Armed police officers stand sentinel around these containers, providing 24-hour security.

The move is said to be aimed at fighting corruption, following revelations that officials, the police and teachers conspired to leak papers in 2015. More than 5,000 primary and secondary school students had their exam results cancelled, the national examinations board was disbanded and some senior managers fired.

Nearly 200 people including police officers were arrested and charged over their involvement in the scandal.

Sources: The Guardian, The Indian Express, The Tribune India, Reuters, The Global Times, The Star Kenya, BBC