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Indians Take Exam Cheating to New Heights by Scaling School Walls to Help Friends and Relatives

Cheating at exams is an age-old phenomenon, but the practice literally scaled new heights last week in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. News reports showed how parents and relatives of 10th-grade students climbing the walls of a school building to hand cheat sheets to the students taking their year-end exams inside!

Photographs and videos of the stupefying event went viral in India, even as police officers stood watching helplessly. Some videos also showed inspectors slapping young students as they pulled out cheat sheets from under their tables. It seems that several students were able to smuggle textbooks and notes into the exam centers despite tight security.

Cheating is apparently common in rural areas of the state, where the competition is fierce and opportunities are few. Just last month, dozens of 12th-grade students were expelled and parents detained in cases of cheating. But the sight of parents risking their life and limb to help their kids has truly shocked the nation.

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According to education experts, cheating at exams is only a symptom of the deeper problems that India’s education system is facing – teacher absenteeism, emphasis on rote learning and inadequate school infrastructure. But P.K. Sahi, education minister of Bihar, refused to shoulder the entire blame.

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“There have been complaints about cheating in many places, especially in rural areas,” he said. “Is this just the responsibility of the government? Is it possible for the government to conduct fair tests without public support? You tell us what can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate?”

 

The examinations, held by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB), will conclude today. Over 1.4 million students have taken the tests, and nearly 500 were expelled after the bizarre incident.

Sources: CNN, Washington Post

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