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Enhanced technology encourage duping?

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TechnologyAbout a dozen major question paper leaks reported recently has affected lakhs of students across India. The latest scandal of the hi-tech cheating in the All India Pre-Medical Test, resulted in cancellation of the entire exam by the Supreme Court, shaking the moral ground of the academic world, and compelling experts to opine that cheating in India has gone beyond personal ethics to practice such a crime through enhanced use of technology.

Here is a disturbing reality. In the past one year, about a dozen of major question paper leaks have been reported, affecting lakhs of students across India. From the latest All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) to the Uttar Pradesh Combined Premedical Test in 2014 and Jamia Millia’s BTech and BDS courses entrance exams, cheating has organised itself into an industry. CCTVs, mobile jammers, armed guards, India is taking a host of measures to stop cheating in examinations. Flying squads with police protection, surveillance cameras are deployed to stop students from copying, but still, it remains rampant.

The recent scandal of All India PreMedical and Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) shook the education industry, and an uncertainty prevails in uprooting this viral problem. The Supreme Court cancelled this year’s AIPMT after some tech-savvy students attempted to cheat in the examination by getting answers through electronic devices, which were smuggled into the test centres across the country.

In today’s digital times, high-technology forging strategies are mostly being misused by the students, and it seems like a cakewalk for them too, with numerous ideas and several electronic goods available on websites, providing a fodder for the criminal bent of mind.

For example, the ‘Spy Bluetooth Glasses Earpiece Set’, is a product that markets itself at users who want to “pass exams without a hassle, and conduct successful business negotiations overtaking competitors or simply strike others by their knowledge…” In fact, the company has offices in several major Indian cities. Another hi-tech device is a wireless earpiece, which can be placed into your auditory canal for receiving a signal through your cell phone for a stretch of five hours, an ideal device for any agent lurking outside the school with a copy of the question paper.

In fact, these products are known to be extremely popular and in demand among the desperate students who wish to just crack the exam by hook or by crook, resulting in finishing of the stocks fast.

However, this does not mean that the traditional mass cheating is out of fashion or authorities are not part of the these unfair plots. There have been instances in various states where students resorted to violence when the control machinery such as flying squads tried to stop them from indulging in unfair practices of passing examination.

Furthermore, cheating has become so institutionalised that even the rates are fixed. The situation is worse as students take plunge in committing suicide if they are unable to clear the examinations, like consuming poison and set themselves on fire. States like Uttar Pradesh score high on being notorious for such high percentage of such institutionalised cheating.

In 1991, the then Education Minister of the State that Rajnath Singh had instituted the Anti-Copying Act that made cheating a non-bailable offence. While all states have legislations pertaining to examination malpractices, this is the only one specific to ‘copying’ from another student’s paper.

Today, experts claim that cheating has long gone beyond the issue of personal ethics, and gained a prominent position in the system. Today, cheating is a bailable offence. There is an ardent need of a mechanism which needs to be put into practice to stop cheating at such a large scale. The question still remains — should we blame our education system, which has stooped down on a level just to help gain marks and get a degree through unfair practices?

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