01:45 - Source: CNN
Massive cheating scandal rocks China

Story highlights

Some 2,440 Chinese students have been caught using high-tech cheating gear in national exam

Invigilators detected abnormal radio signals that were being used to transmit the answers

Candidates wore wireless ear pieces or placed "electronic erasers" on their desks

Hong Kong CNN  — 

Full marks for ingenuity.

Some 2,440 Chinese students taking a national exam have been caught using high-tech cheating gear that wouldn’t be out of place in a spy film.

According to state media, invigilators detected abnormal radio signals that were being used to transmit the answers in code to candidates, who wore wireless ear pieces or placed “electronic erasers” on their desks.

More than 25,000 students took the exam to become licensed pharmacists in the northwestern city of Xian on October 18 and 19. The test took place in seven separate locations.

The organizers of the scam sent fake candidates to take the test, who quickly left after memorizing the questions. They then broadcast the correct answers to candidates, who had paid $330 for the service.

Jiang Xueqin, a Beijing-based education consultant, said that China’s high-stakes, exam-focused educational system had led to a culture of cheating.

“Most examples are not as flagrant or as stark as this but cheating is widespread because the focus is on getting the certification, not the skills you need in the work place.”

Test centers for China’s notoriously competitive university entrance exam use metal detectors to clamp down on cheating devices, with security often tighter than at airports, he added.

Nor do parents always frown upon such scams. In 2012, when authorities tried to stop cheats in the city of Zhongxiang in Hubei, a riot broke out involving parents angry that their children were being singled out when everyone was cheating.

Those caught cheating in the national licensing exam would not be allowed to take the exam again for two years, said Du Fangshuai, head of the provincial examination department.

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