Social media is a new tool for exam cheating

Prajakta Joshi
Thursday, 15 March 2018

"Copying has always existed in board examinations and as we evolved methods to prevent malpractices, the students devised counter methods. Technology and social media were bound to be misused, considering their utility and scope." saide Vasant Kalpande.

PUNE: Copying cases and malpractices have always existed in board examinations, but technological advances have further opened a wide spectrum for its misuse. Incidents that took place in the last couple of years clearly show how extensive use of social media played a major role in malpractices, like leaking of question papers or of important questions.

This year, both the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) faced controversies over incidents of paper leaks on social media like WhatsApp.

Although, the boards denied that any such activities had taken place, it was evident that technology, instead of being used to curb the malpractices, is all the more used by students for cheating.

Vasant Kalpande, education expert and former chairman of MSBSHSE, said that this should not be seen as something too dangerous. "Copying has always existed in board examinations and as we evolved methods to prevent malpractices, the students devised counter methods. Technology and social media were bound to be misused, considering their utility and scope. The only way that we can curb copying and paper leaks are traditional ones of 'policing' (precautions and punishment) and 'counselling'," Kalpande said. He also added that authorities need to be more vigilant than ever and should strictly implement all measures they can to stop malpractices.

TECHNOLOGY TO STOP PAPER LEAKING
Speaking to Sakal Times, Herold D'Costa, CEO, Intelligent Quotient Security System (IQSS), who devised a special system for Mumbai University around six years ago to curb the issue of paper leaks, said, "For Mumbai University, back in 2012, we devised a system where the question paper would be set just about an hour before the examination time. There is a server, which contains many question paper sets, one out of which is randomly selected. The link to this question paper is then sent to various exam centres, where the principals, or any other authorised person in a strong room, opens the link and downloads and prints the question papers. The strong rooms are to be equipped with biometric, CCTV cameras, etc. and the authorised person has to enter without his/her cell phone. Also, the link is created in such a way that it can only be opened on registered computers. Thus, if at all it's forwarded to someone else, it's of no use."

D'Costa said that implementation of such a system at all the board examinations could be very useful in curbing malpractices, which is otherwise proving to be a difficult task.

He said that at Mumbai University, the system was 99 per cent successful. "We had a huge success with this system and from 2012 to 2016, till the time the system was used at Mumbai University, we encountered just one case of a paper leak, which was also traced. We also implemented this at North Maharashtra University and Solapur University for three to four years," he added.

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