China cracks down on student cheats

China is to scramble mobile phone signals in some exam halls and have police stand guard in an attempt to stop cheating, as millions of Chinese students prepare for college exams.

    China's students face strong competition for college places

    About 9.5 million young people will take the June 7-8 college entrance exams, but only one in four will be eligible for college enrollment, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.


    The Chinese government last month said it plans to further restrict enrollment to improve teaching conditions and ease graduate employment pressures.


    In 2005 about 1,700 students across the country were disciplined for cheating, including 30 students who used hidden telecommunications equipment to get answers during the test, or who were caught selling exam contents, it said.


    Extreme methods


    The anti-cheating campaign is part of a larger effort to clean China's academic community amid increased plagiarism and fake research cases.


    "Those, who intend to use mobile phone shielding devices must show a relevant report to prove the devices they are using will do no harm to people physically"

    Education ministry spokesman

    Some provinces were planning to use devices that would block mobile phone signals in exam halls. 


    However, the education ministry said that if such equipment was being used it should be proved safe to humans.


    Xinhua quoted Lin Huiqing, a ministry official, as saying:

    "Those who intend to use mobile phone shielding devices must show a relevant report to prove the devices they are using will do no harm to people physically,"


    Xinhua said that police would be standing guard at exam halls to "ensure smooth operation of the exams" and added that students would be required to sign documents promising not to cheat.


    Academic scandals


    China has suffered a series of scandals in recent months involving academics caught lying about their credentials or faking research.


    Lasst month, a dean at Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of China's top science schools, was dismissed after investigators found he had faked research on what state media had hailed as a breakthrough new computer chip.


    In April, another Shanghai university dismissed a scientist who it said lied about his academic record. Similar accusations led to the firing of a professor at elite Tsinghua University in Beijing in March.


    The scandals have been especially embarrassing to communist leaders at a time when they are promising to spend more on scientific research, hoping to develop profitable technologies.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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