Would-Be Teachers Use Bluetooth-Connected Flip-Flops to Cheat on Exam

Over two dozen people taking a national exam that could lead to a career in teaching were caught cheating Bluetooth-enabled flip flops to get an edge over the stiff competition.

Cheating has always been a big problem in India, especially during potentially life-changing exams. I remember watching surreal scenes of people climbing the walls of a school building in Bihar to hand cheat sheets to the students taking their year-end exams inside a few years ago, or army applicants forced to take exams in their underwear to prevent cheating. This year, authorities in Rajasthan went as far as cutting the internet connection in the state during the exam to prevent cheating, but they still couldn’t prevent savvy cheaters from trying to get a leg up through nefarious ways. The latest method of cheating reportedly involves Bluetooth-connected flip-flops sold by criminal gangs for up to 600,000 rupees ($8,000) per pair.

More than 4,000 test centers were set up across the Indian state for the Rajasthan Teacher Eligibility Test (REET) on September 26. The test hadn’t been held since 2018 and it is considered an entry into a teaching career, an important opportunity for many. Important enough to risk cheating on the exam and landing in jail for dozens of candidates caught last Sunday.

With the internet turned off statewide, shoes and sandals banned in test centers, and thorough searches at entry points, authorities thought they had every base covered, but cheaters always find a way. Over two dozen of them were caught wearing flip-flops with a sim card concealed inside. The phone was connected to tiny Bluetooth earpieces embedded deep in their ears to make them less visible.


“The slippers had a sim card and the candidates had a tiny Bluetooth bug implanted in their ears. In one case, we had to take a doctor’s intervention to find the bug as it was so deeply implanted,” one police officer told The National.

The cheaters’ plan was to have accomplices on the outside call their flip flops so they could discreetly dictate the answers to them and then receive the answers in return. Only some of the would-be teachers started acting strangely before entering the exam halls, which prompted an extra thorough search that revealed the high-tech footwear.


“We were aware of the possibility of cheating but we thought it would be a question paper leak or someone would use the internet, which is why it was restricted in many cities,” police official Priti Chandra said. “But this was a totally new modus operandi. They are getting so tech-savvy.”

Apparently, the rubber flip-flops were designed by a gang that procured the necessary components for around 30,000 rupees ($400) and then sold them to candidates appearing for the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers for a whopping 600,000 rupees ($8,000) per pair.


A total of 25 people were caught wearing a pair during this week’s exam. The number could have been greater, but as the cheaters were caught the information regarding the novel method was shared with several districts, prompting many centers to ask the candidates to remove their footwear outside the exam halls.

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