Monday 23 April 2018

Parents riot as China tries to stop exam pupils cheating

Malcolm Moore Beijing

What should have been a hushed scene of 800 Chinese students diligently sitting their university entrance exams erupted into siege warfare after invigilators tried to stop them from cheating.

The relatively small city of Zhongxiang in Hubei province has always performed suspiciously well in China's notoriously tough "gaokao" exams, winning a disproportionate number of places at the country's elite universities.

Last year, the city was cautioned by the province's education department after it discovered 99 identical papers in one subject. This year, a pilot scheme was introduced to enforce the rules strictly.

When pupils arrived to sit their exams, they were dismayed to find they would be supervised by 54 randomly selected external invigilators.

The invigilators used metal detectors to relieve students of their mobile phones and secret transmitters, some of them designed to look like pencil erasers.

A team of female invigilators was on hand to intimately search female examinees.

Outside the school, officials patrolled the area to catch people transmitting answers to the examinees. At least two groups were caught.

As soon as the exams finished, a mob swarmed into the school in protest. By late afternoon, more than 2,000 students and their parents had gathered to vent their rage, smashing cars and chanting: "We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat."

The protesters claim cheating is endemic in China and that sitting the exams without help puts their children at a disadvantage.

Teachers took to the internet to call for help. "We are trapped in the exam hall," wrote Kang Yanhong, an invigilator. An invigilator named Li Yong was punched in the nose by a father.

'Strict'

Hundreds of police eventually cordoned off the school and the local government conceded that "exam supervision had been too strict".

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old Frenchwoman has been caught sitting a crucial pre-university English examination in Paris in her 19-year-old daughter's place.

Dressed in "elaborate make-up", low-waisted jeans and Converse shoes, the mother made the brazen attempt at cheating this week to help her daughter secure her Bacchalaureat – France's equivalent of A-levels. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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