NEET exam(the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET-UG is an entrance examination in the country for students who wish to study any graduate medical course (MBBS/Dental course(BDS) or postgraduate course(MD/MS) in government or private medical colleges. NEET-UG(undergraduate for MBBS and BDS Courses are conducted by the central Board of Secondary Examination(CBSE).NEET-UG replaced the All India Pre Medical Test(AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states or colleges themselves in 2013.
In a shocking incident recently in Tamil Nadu, students appearing for the NEET exams were not allowed inside the examination hall wearing full sleeve shirts. A female candidate claimed that she had to remove her inner wear before sitting for the test. Each student was checked with a torch at the gate and even ear holes were not spared. Heavy metallic objects, huge buttons, high heels, and heavy ornaments were not allowed inside the hall either. A candidate wearing jeans was asked to remove a pocket as well as metal buttons from the clothing.
The CBSE decided to strictly stick to the ‘dress code’ when the NEET exam, was conducted in Kannur in Kerala too. A female candidate claimed she had to remove her upper innerwear before sitting for the test.
“My daughter went inside the centre, only to return later and hand me her brassier” said her mother! Another candidate wearing a pair of jeans had to remove a pocket as well as metal buttons. The similarity of dress codes enforced between the two states meant that the CBSE was following a well prescribed ‘dress code’. CBSE had indeed framed a very strict dress code, besides other rules to check rampant cheating in the NEET examination. Very soon, after the Kannur incident, the CBSE expressed regrets at the tough dress code that was enforced almost militarily, and termed the turn of events ‘unfortunate’. However, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission filed a case against the Board. The four invigilators, who directed the female candidate to remove her upper innerwear after the metal detector beeped to the hook incorporated in the innerwear, were suspended pending inquiry. That, to many seemed unfair, as the invigilators were only enforcing a prescribed dress code. If the CBSE subsequently did find the dress code and measures undertaken to enforce them abominable, the former need to be reviewed and scrapped at war footing.
Did the CBSE really have to draw up draconian dress codes and other rules to ensure fair and smooth conduct of an extremely competitive examination like NEET which lakhs take? Were things really bad in the country?
- As per the report tabled recently by the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), footage of CCTVs and tablets installed in the exam centers across the state, detected 7,448 cases of copying, with Anand district emerging as the largest offender with 4,173 cases. The GSHSEB had installed thousands of CCTVs and tablets that covered over a total of 59,000 centers (35,000 centres of class X and 24,000 of class XII) and generated over 76,000 CDs.
- In New Delhi, over 1,200 cases of use of unfair means in recruitment tests for government jobs conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) have been reported in the past three years, according to a government report tabled in Parliament. Of the total of 1,215 cases, a highest of 1,173 were in tests conducted by the SSC, and the remaining 42 in those conducted by the UPSC
- Students resorting to unfair means in examinations in Bihar is folklore! Recently, police arrested 13 candidates taking the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board (BCECEB), for securing admission to engineering and medical courses, for using high-tech gadgets from different centers in Patna. Eight of the thirteen arrested were girls, making it the first time a large numbers of women candidates have been booked for resorting to unfair methods in examinations. According to the police, all the candidates were arrested for using Bluetooth-enabled devices. According to the Patna SSP, The matter came to light when a woman candidate was caught using electronic devices to remain in touch with those dictating answers to her. Among other things, the police recovered a micro speaker attached to her left ear. One of the candidates told the police that they had paid a hefty sum of money to the racketeers who had promised to pass on the correct answers through different tools. The racketeers, according to the police might have got hold of the answer keys to the different sets of questions and might have been passing on the answers to the candidates from outside the centers by using latest technology.
- In Pune, cheating in examinations acquired new shades and means. Examinees were seen to use cell phones that closely resemble calculator covers, pen cameras and smart watches that can store snapshots of texts or a music player with recorded material from texts and guides.
Pawan kumar, Chief Technology Officer at Wheebox says “technology-savvy youth, cell phones, handheld devices including digital readers, and the internet are being used in interpersonal communication, especially in examinations”.
Action India Home products has been serving in the field of spy Bluetooth earpieces and devices from the last two decades. In a very short span of time, the company has become one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of spy gadgets. They have designed spy Bluetooth gadgets with latest Nano technology, according to them. The exam cheating devise can be used during exams, meetings, interviews and for spying.Spy Bluetooth earpiece in India is available online and at ‘spy stores’. Different types of spy earpiece devices are available in the market viz: Bluetooth pen earpiece set, garments like jacket, shirt, tie, ladies’ suit, vest and Bluetooth earpiece GSM CARD, hidden wireless invisible mini Box Cheat SIM, etc.
- In Bangalore, paper chits are passé! Invigilators of the Rajiv Gandhi University of health sciences (RGUHS) were recently flummoxed by the innovative cheating method of a MBBS student. The student had worn a custom-made shirt fitted with devices like a lapel mike, and an electric circuit inside his collar and his innerwear, closely resembling a suicide bomber!
Custom-made shirts fitted with button scanners and lapel mikes, mobile phones without the outer shell, and a scanner in the finger ring are some of the devices used in the city. These devises do not come cheap. Students cough up nearly Rs. 1.4 lacks to purchase them.
Often these shirts and vests are shared by students for a price. The answers are transmitted from hostels and distant cities.
Students tell the investigating officials that they indulged in copying as their parent forced them to study medicine. “We cheat because our parents want us to study medicine” is what they claim. Are these youth with criminal tendencies passing the buck to their parents? Are things as simple as their claims?
Technology has come in handy to facilitate their copycat ways. Various methods and gadgets are used and resorted to:
- Copycats wear custom-made shirt fitted with devices like lapel mike, electric circuits fixed inside the collar, a small pocket under the armpit to hold the mobile.
- Scanners: they come fitted in pens, finger rings, buttons, spectacles and caps (students are known to tonsure their heads before exams to wear caps)
- Earplugs and mikes: Bluetooth devices like earplugs (usually in skin color) with an antennae as thin as hair strands, micro earphones, spy earphones, lapel mike, mobile phones without outer shell
- Custom-made mobiles: mobiles fitted to the wrist neatly with the strap, or magnet incorporated mobiles to fix under the writing table
- Radiofrequency transmitter: a small matchbox-shaped sound transmitter fitted at the rear of the pant acts as a powerful battery. This device running on radiofrequency can easily transit answers with excellent clarity from any part of the country to the exam hall.
The modus operandi:
At the exam hall, the student scans the paper using scanners attached to his body, or incorporated into devices like pens, shirt buttons, rings or spectacles. Through a Bluetooth device, the question paper is transmitted to points outside the hall using radiofrequency transmitters and table mikes. The student inside the hall receive answers through Bluetooth devices like ear phones, some of which are impossible to detect, thanks to their skin color and hair-thin antennae, very closely resembling a James Bond blockbuster!
Is this a case for strict dress codes and thorough frisking as suggested by the CBSE, as was practiced in Kerala and Tamil Nadu?
Of course it is. Nothing merits more punishment and thorough frisking! Unfortunately, the high-tech unfair methods are resorted to by only a miniscule number of students. As is the logical outcome, the entire student community taking such competitive examinations are made to pay the price. After all, a little leaven leaveneth the entire lump!
The army invented a rather innovative and novel solution. Around 1,100 candidates who showed up to sit for the army recruitment exam in Bihar’s muzaffarpur last year were asked to strip down to their underwear and sit in an open ground. Can one blame them for that? Absolutely not! This shows the desperate situation existing inside exam halls where highly competitive exams such as NEET are held.
The AIPMT was cancelled by the Supreme Court in view of widespread cheating. The CBSE, entrusted with the responsibility to conduct the NEET-UG imposed strict guidelines, with the aspirants allowed to carry their admit card and two photographs and nothing else. Caps, rings, full sleeved shirts, bracelets, earrings, watches and religious symbols were strictly forbidden.
The students alone are not the villains in the mayhem that is enacted inside exam halls. Teachers and invigilators too pitch in to facilitate the aspirants’ easy entry to professional courses. The UP Board has so far lodged FIR against 111 centre Superintendents and 178 invigilators. Teachers chip in by supplying chits with answers, or dictating answers to students, helping students smuggle answer sheets out of the examination centre, getting answers written by a facilitator and smuggling the answer sheet back into the hall to the students! Even a school principal has been caught for facilitating cheating.
The situation being grave and by no means trivial to shoo away or turn a blind eye to, merits something to be done and acted on at a war footing
- Thorough frisking as resorted to by the CBSE has to be persisted with or made even more stringent. Female students can very well take the help of their grandmothers to learn to use Upper inner wear without metal clips!
- Students ought not to be ‘pushed’ by parents into professional courses like Medicine, against their will. Such professions require the right kind of aptitude and attitude. Students who get into the longwinded and tough course ultimately ‘graduate’, again through unfair means to bring discredit to the profession, leaving other fair ones to be at the wrong end of the stick, as doctors very much are, in India.
- Manufacturers and suppliers of high-tech gadgets employed in exams have to be cracked down and shut down like those ‘illegal’ beef outlets in the state of Uttar Pradesh!
- Invigilators and authorities stationed at exam centers facilitating unfair means by examinees should be pulled up and non-bailable arrests made.
- Students once caught indulging in unfair practices ought to be blacklisted, and their appearance in exams banned for a minimum period of ten years from the time of being caught.