back to article Indian state cuts off internet for millions to stop cheating in exams

The Indian state of Rajasthan yesterday cut off internet access to millions of citizens, in order to prevent cheating in an exam. The exam in question is the Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers (REET) – a test that, as its name implies, is a requirement to be employed as a teacher. Rajasthan's informational website …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Sad

    When you need the internet to cheat, you are not very good at it.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ Bronze badge

      Re: Sad

      Like most of the 750 'resources' Infosys has hired?

    2. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Sad

      That still leaves open the usual bribery route.

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Sad

      Yeah, people is so lazy nowadays.

      Someone I know of passed the computer class in high school due to cheating; and it was using the completely unsecured computer classroom local Ethernet.

      In other words that someone copied the answers and work from other people because it was in the early 2000s and Windows 98/Windows 98 SE was still in use.

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  3. Dark Eagle

    Pretty pathetic

    If you ask me. There's a reason why I despise government exams.

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Pretty pathetic

      Have a look at this picture.

      The caption reads "Students in Hajipur, north-eastern India, were given a helping hand from friends and family as they sat state exams on Thursday. People could be seen climbing buildings to pass cheat sheets to the students. Cheating is not uncommon in parts of India where competition for jobs and higher education places is fierce"

      And recently, Apology after Indian students wear cardboard boxes for exams

      1. Michael Hoffmann
        Facepalm

        Re: Pretty pathetic

        Thank you, I had remembered this and hadn't been able to find it again.

        The biggest fail here is that this isn't properly policed/controlled and that incompetent bureaucrat having the gall to go on about "cheating is under control". I wonder if those 500 expelled were simply the ones that hadn't paid big enough bribes?

        1. Giles C Silver badge

          Re: Pretty pathetic

          I remember school exams as being in a large hall with around a metre between desks / students.

          And you couldn’t even get up from a desk without being accompanied by an invigilator to ensure you don’t cheat.

          How many in that video weren’t cheating?

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  5. Mishak

    Should move to Yorkshire

    They have a reet good* exam system there.

    *For the non-UK readers, "reet good" is dialect for "very good".

    1. That Badger

      Re: Should move to Yorkshire

      Same as Dutch "retegoed", then. Reet means "arse", by the way. Must be a language leftover from before the Norman invasion.

      1. knarf

        Re: Should move to Yorkshire

        You mean the Northman Invasion, likely old Norse language trait.

        1. That Badger

          Re: Should move to Yorkshire

          No, that is not what i meant, more like the Saxons. Language spoken in England and Frisia/Netherlands used to be the same/similar.

  6. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sounds like they are paying far too much if they're getting 1.6 million applicants for 40k jobs.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Or they are paying the correct salary for the job, it's just everything else is underpaid.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    2. MiguelC Silver badge
  7. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Cheating

    Standard throughout Asia, I'm afraid.

    When I was teaching at uni, we found the Chinese were the most sophisticated, and organised themselves in groups. I remember once we gave 0 to a whole ream of assignments where they'd posed as the head lecturer to trick the textbook publisher into sending them the instructor's guide with worked answers to all the tute questions. To a PO Box they set-up then quickly let lapse. First and last time we used any of the textbook questions... "Interestingly", every single one of them turned up to protest vehemently, some of them very aggressively.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheating

      Standard throughout Asia the developing world, I'm afraid.

      Here, I fixed that for you.

      You won't find any of these mass cheating shenanigans going on in the likes of Japan, South Korea, Singapore or Malaysia.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Cheating

        https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/cheating-allegations-prompt-south-korean-online-exam-rethink

    2. Falmari Silver badge

      Cheating or thinking outside the box?

      @W.S.Gosset but were they cheating, did they break any rules for the assignment?

      Maybe they did break the rules or maybe they were just thinking outside the box and got the information for the assignments in an unanticipated way.

      I had a similar experience in the 90s, first year of my degree. I was reported for cheating on an assignment to produce a population density map of the Netherlands. From a supplied map and population data we were required to produce a 3-layer map on drawing film. The expectation was we would get our drafting pens out and hand draw the layers.

      But I digitised the map and population points and fed them in as vector data into Coral Draw. Then in Coral Draw added a density symbol layer and an annotation layer and printed each layer out on drafting film.

      Now too some it was viewed as cheating as I had not drawn the map. But in my lecturer’s view it was thinking outside the box and using the facilities and resources available to me to solve the problem.

      To me if you have not broken the rules, then it is just solving the problem in an unexpected way.

      1. Mishak

        Which is great fun...

        When the solution is one that has never been thought of by the instructors...

  8. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    40 to 1 odds

    My initial reaction when I saw the numbers was: bloody hell, they've got Buckley's of getting a job. Then twigged it was only 40:1.

    In Australia it is typical to get triple digit applications for jobs. Supermarkets, for example, often get over 300 applicants for each job, like checkout operator or shelf-stacker.

    Lots of hidden unemployment in Australia...

  9. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

    Takes me down memory lane, this.

    Seventh standard (grade in many other countries?) final exams.

    District level exams, so exams were not in the school I was studying. New place.

    First exam, everybody sitting cross legged on the floor (hey, not as bad as you think!), and I started writing. Quite a few not.

    15 minutes into the exam, the exam supervisor makes us sit in a huge circle around him.

    He takes out a few sheets and dictates around 45% of the paper to us. We were allowed to do the rest by ourselves.

    Why 45%? The most basic government job those days required a Seventh Standard certificate.

    35% was the passing criterion.

    No internet required. Not that it existed. The only way to stop this was to have unqualified supervisors.

    Not that I would stop it, knowing why it was done. For quite a few it meant a job or no job.

    If memory has not failed me, ALL papers were conducted in this format.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Takes me down memory lane, this.

      Which country was this?

      1. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

        Re: Takes me down memory lane, this.

        The one mentioned in this news, of course.

        As I mentioned, I can see the utility in doing this, insane methods for insane regulations.

        Not done for (almost!) any other exam in my experience.

  10. msobkow Silver badge

    Personally I wish every country that cries about "obscenity" on the internet because it doesn't agree with their *religious* views should PERMANENTLY disconnect from the internet... I'm looking at you, Pakistan!

    And I think it says a lot about the ethics of Indian society if the only way to prevent MASS CHEATING is to shut off the entire internet for a day. I wouldn't hire a single ONE of them if that is what their view on "social responsibility" is. :(

  11. ShadowSystems

    I wonder why...

    The people giving the test didn't just turn the buildings in which the test is being given into giant Faraday cages, confiscate all electronics at the door, hand out approved calculators, & make the test takers do so in an environment where the ability to cheat is much harder. Sure folks could still try to sneak in cheat sheets, but multiple overhead cameras recording the whole thing could then have the footage reviewed & all the cheaters get a failing grade as appropriate. Cutting off the internet to the entire region is like killing flies with nuclear weapons. =-/

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: I wonder why...

      Short answer: money.

      Consider that India can only afford to spend on healthcare US$73 per person per year. By comparison, Australia spends ~A$7,500. If healthcare were hospital beds, it's like all of Australia having to use a single hospital, say the Royal Adelaide or the PA Hospital in Brisbane.

      They couldn't even afford to lend cheap calculators for the duration, let alone wrap buildings in wire. Not at their scale.

  12. Conundrum1885

    Re. I wonder why..

    The latest variant was some physics students who had hacked their "permitted" scientific calculator with a tiny rectangular OLED panel glued behind the LCD in such a way that it couldn't be seen except at a very close glance and a low power radio + micro connected to use one of the unused buttons to turn it on momentarily. The only reason they got caught was because the invigilator being suspicious from a previous incident involving tiny two way radios had set up a SDR configured to scan for active mobile phones etc and it picked up an odd repeating signal on the 433.92 band.

    It was so serious that the student(s) in question ALL got booted from the private school they were attending, with U's in all four subjects and the ones sitting next to the cheating scumbags had their results downgraded on the grounds that "they must have suspected something and failed to report it".

  13. HildyJ Silver badge
    WTF?

    Endemic

    Cheating is endemic around the world. The internet did not initiate it but it facilitates it. In the first world, look at the sites offering to write papers for you (and the anti-plagiarism software schools use to detect it).

    OTOH, shutting down the internet is a ridiculous solution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Endemic

      I'm dealing at work (UK HEI) with a student who paid a Birmingham-based website to have an essay written for him. Only three hundred quid, and though it wasn't a very good essay we didn't notice and he passed.

      A year later he paid the first thousand quid blackmail demand from the company he had used. A year after that he got the second demand and confessed.

  14. jtaylor Bronze badge

    When cheating is the answer...

    there's something wrong with the question.

    With so much depending on this one exam, I understand why people cheat. With such competition, maybe only successful cheats get those jobs.

    I don't know the solution here. The situation is so bad: employment is so unequal in India, and the Government of India has such a strong history and culture of nepotism, cronyism, and similar corruption. It would be nonsense to suggest replacing this exam with a lottery, yet...it might almost be an improvement.

    In real life, I have seen very little that could be qualitatively predicted with a one-day exam. School performance? Workplace performance? Friendship? Business deals? None of those. Even where an exam measures actual requirements (e.g. literacy), such a small sample is often not representative of the person's overall performance.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they really cheating?

    In the age of people not knowing what a file is, and age where humans are no longer having to acyually lean things.

    Are they really cheating? Or are they simply looking up the answers?

    Same thing? Maybe not.

    Humans are fast approaching the point, some argue we are already there, where we dont develop brains that can learn and remember things. Why would we need such brains? Besides learning a language, how to walk etc, all someone needs to learn is strategies and techniques to search out the information required.

    Exams are thus out-moded and old fashioned. "Dinosaur bones" from a bygone age when all we had was a bunch of dead tree stapled together. It was not possible to carry all the dead trees around, so owners HAD to memorise their contents. And places called Libraries were built to house all the dead tree things that were too numerous to have in anything other than a National Trust property, they have gone (the libraries). Now, we dont have the need for the dead trees, well perhaps in some third world outback hole where the people still think the moon eats the sun. There a book on astronomy might be a use, till they get FTTH (Fibre To The Hut).

    Modern humans simply Google.

    Advanced humans learn good google-fu.

    So were they cheating? I think not, perhaps they are victims of techism. The "ism" where the old farts demand the younger generations learn what a file is or what a web page is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they really cheating?

      Exams are thus out-moded and old fashioned.

      Not all exams are memory tests. We set open book exams in which students can use any resources they want, dead tree or online. Generally the full text of the questions is on Chegg and Course Hero within twenty minutes and solutions appear an hour or two later.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Are they really cheating?

      Yes, because in the job they're going to get, they need memorization. They are going to be teachers. If you're teaching chemistry, you need to know chemistry. You can refer to the periodic table to find the numbers you've forgotten, but if you have to use the internet to know what a covalent bond does, then you're no use teaching that to the students because you'll spend half the time looking stuff up. The same is true of most other subjects. You may not need to be a genius, but you do need to understand the topic.

      I generally think a lot of tests are unnecessarily restrictive, but successful searching does not mean you know what you're doing. The tests can allow the use of those resources most of the time, but only if the time limit means someone has to use them only in the important cases.

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