Chinese exam centres to have anti-spy tech to catch cheaters

Beijing, Jan 19 | Updated: Jan 20 2007, 05:30am hrs
Beijing will install anti-spy devices to combat cheating during the national postgraduate recruitment examination this weekend, local officials said. Telecommunication signal detectors will be used to identify wireless earphones that are as small as a grain of rice, officials from the Beijing Education Examination Authority said.

Exam cheaters have been known to evade detection by placing earphones deep inside their ears to receive signals from cell phones, which transmit answers to test questions from sources outside the examination halls. Signal receivers are on sale for as much as $320.

Officials with the authority also confirmed all electronic equipment, such as mobile phones and MP3 players, are banned from examination rooms at 73 sites in the Chinese capital. Any examinee found with banned electronic devices will be considered to have violated test rules and will be severely punished, officials with the authority said, without specifying the nature of the punishment.

Over 90,000 people will take the two-day graduate recruitment exams in Beijing, which is one of the key examinations in China. Nationwide, more than 1.28 million people will take the tests, but only about 25% of them will secure immediate employment. A string of exam-cheating scandals, including test paper leaks and surrogate exam-takers, have plagued exams in China in recent years.