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Indian students wear boxes on their heads during exam to prevent cheating

A school in India has apologized after photos emerged of students wearing cardboard boxes on their heads during an exam to discourage cheating.

The Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri, in India's southwestern Karnataka state, implemented a trial run of the new measure last Wednesday, according to school management head M.B. Sateesh.

A staff member photographed the students sitting in neat rows, their heads obscured by cardboard boxes.

The front of the boxes had been cut out, allowing students to see their desks and exam sheets but restricting their vision, similar to blinkers used on a horse.

The students were at the Bhagat Pre-University College in the town of Haveri, in India's Karnataka state.

The photos were posted on Facebook by a staff member and promptly went viral, according to CNN affiliate CNN-News18.

Students at an Indian school wore cardboard boxes on their heads as an anti-cheating measure on October 16, 2019.

Before long, the school was facing widespread criticism on social media. Even government officials weighed in -- S. Suresh Kumar, the state education minister, said in a tweet that the school's practice was "unacceptable."

"Nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like animals," Kumar wrote. "This (perversion) will be dealt with aptly."

The school has provided authorities with a written explanation of the trial and an apology, Sateesh said.

The boxes had been an optional, parentally approved experiment, school officials said.

Sateesh emphasized that the trial was optional, the school had notified parents in advance -- and only students with parental approval had been involved. Of the 72 students taking midterm exams that day, only 56 took part in the box experiment, he said.

"They said they were comfortable with the trial," Sateesh said. "The college did not harass any student, it was optional and some (students) experimented, some did not."

The students had brought their own boxes to school, and many took them off after 15 to 30 minutes, Sateesh said. The school asked all students to take off the boxes within an hour of the exam.

The school had faced a widespread and persistent cheating problem last year -- leading to new anti-cheating experiments like the boxes, according to CNN-News18.

There has been a number of cheating scandals across India in recent years.

One particularly prominent scandal in 2015 saw parents and family members in Bihar state scaling the exterior walls of school buildings to pass their children cheat sheets.


My view: This is inhumane, nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like caged animals. Exam pressure during revision and exam season affects students mental health, students should be assessed on their course-work. Do away with the monster called exam, it's the reason people cheat. ("Basing a student’s academic abilities on a single examination paper is flawed because there are too many external factors that can unfairly affect a student’s performance. For example, what if the student is not feeling their best that day? What if the child suffers from a disorder that limits their capacity to retain information, such as ADD or ADHD?", )

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