back to article Syria and Sudan turn off the internet to suppress ... cheating by kids sitting exams

The governments of Syria and Sudan have shut down the internet across their nations, apparently to prevent cheating during school exams. A blog post by Cloudflare’s CTO John Graham-Cumming charted the scheduled outages in Syria showing they corresponded to the periods of time directly before exams start — from 4:00AM until 8: …

  1. lglethal Silver badge

    Seriously? To stop cheating?

    Whatever happened to the simple expedient of having invigilators walking around the exam rooms. Anyone caught with a mobile phone in hand is kicked out and fails. Put enough invigilators in the room and cheating will not be a problem. It's what used to be done at my university, (i assume it still is) along with providing the calculators needed for exams (preventing programmed calculators doing the actual work). Even if someone smuggles a phone in, with people walking around with the power to kick them out and fail them, that phone will stay resolutely in that pocket. Guaranteed.

    It's really not a difficult problem to solve and you surely dont need to cripple your economy doing so.

    (Ok maybe these nations dont have the physical cash in hand to pay people to do invigilating, but surely they can frame it as some sort of civic duty, or put the military to work. They dont have anything else to do, right? :P)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

      As far as I know, they did try that solution, because well, duh, it's not exactly rocket science, right?

      What happened is that somebody did have the cash in hand, unfortunately, it was the students.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Swarthy
      Big Brother

      Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

      Split the difference - Cell Jammer turned on during the exams. That is, if preventing exam cheating is the goal. If, however, the goal is to have an "acceptable" reason for turning off the internet to prevent/mitigate a popular uprising....

    4. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

      Meh. Real-world jobs provide access to the internet and any other tools the employer thinks will help. I've always thought it somewhat unrealistic to test people on how they'd perform under conditions they are unlikely to encounter in the actual workplace.

      It's like those daft (to my mind) programmer interviews where they expect you to solve a problem using pen and paper. Clearly no-one is going to employ a programmer and only provide them with a pen and paper so WTF is the point? Every programmer on the planet has an internet connection and access to Stack Overflow. So test them on their ability to work with SO not on their ability to work without it.

      1. s2bu

        Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

        IMHO, anybody using SO during an interview should be immediately asked to leave. Not because they’re looking things up, that’s fine. It’s because code on SO is total utter garbage.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

          The vast majority of what's on SO (least-wise anything that hasn't been down voted) is useful information. Of course that doesn't mean you should copy and paste it. Instead you should understand it and either rework it for your purposes or just refer to it when writing your own solution.

          If you are using external sources by copy/pasting them then you'd fail my interview regardless of what the source was.

          If you choose not to use SO because you think it's all utter garbage then you'd fail for not utilising available resources.

      2. lglethal Silver badge

        Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

        Exams worth 100% of a person's grades are i agree stupid and unrealistic. But when combined with projects and assignments, such that the final exam is worth 30-40%, i think are quite good. It tests peoples abilities to work under pressure, to prioritise, and to show they do have an understanding of the basics of their subjects. All things that do come in handy in the workplace...

    5. Shalghar

      Re: Seriously? To stop cheating?

      Hand over any mobile before the exam, any tech found on the pupil will lead to failure. Metal detectors should be aplenty in warzone schools.

      Concerning the exams: making different versions for every class in a school then shuffling them so every class gets individual exams might solve the issue of leaked answers. When nobody (including the respective class teachers) knows what version of the exam sheet hits what class, but must be assured the exam differs from any of those handed to parallel classes, cheating might be more work than actually learning for real.

      If teachers or someone farther up the school chain are corrupt enough to leak exam questions, no comms outage will have the officially desired effect. There is still multimode analogue storage called pen and paper or outright buying the desired outcome (grades) to continue such practices.

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