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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ethiopia cuts off internet ! ~ cheating in Public exams


We live by the axiom that ‘Education is the only tool which can uplift the Society and empower the lower echelons of the Society’. There are two photos in this post – one of students writing exams in China and another of poster hailing the achievement of SYMA Growth students [unconnected though !]

Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) is likely to declare the results of the Class X 2017 examinations on 3 June, media reports said.  Considering the many controversies which surrounded the declaration of 12th board results this year, there is too much at stake for the board while declaring the 10th results. So far there has been no update on the board's official website about the result declaration date. The results for Class XII 2017 were declared on 28 May after the CBSE decided to continue with the moderation policy for this year. This means for this year's evaluation process, grace marks will be provided, but without being separately mentioned on the marksheet.

Elsewhere, in Bihar,  Class 12 board ‘topper’ Ganesh Kumar was arrested on Friday on forgery charges after the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) cancelled his result.  The development comes days after BSEB lodged a police case against Kumar after he reportedly failed to answer basic questions asked by a TV news channel. The Bihar topper was caught on the wrong foot after he asked to play some instruments, and couldn’t play anything in tune. He seemed to have a difficult time explaining what is ‘sur’, ‘taal’ and ‘matra’, considered to be the basics of music. Asked what did he do in music practicals, he unrhythmically sang a few lines of a Bollywood number. In fact, Education Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary also extended his support to Kumar, saying he is a genuine student. He also added that even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was happy with this result. 24-year-old Kumar had appeared for the board exams at Ramnandan Singh Jagdip Narayan High school in Samastipur’s Chhakhabib village and secured 82.6 per cent marks.  There is some controversy over his age too, with some reports stating that he is 42 and not 24 !!! -  Out of the total 12,40,168 students who wrote the examinations, only 4,37,115 passed. This was the worst BSEB result in nearly two decades.

Back home, there have been widespread allegations that candidates from Haryana have secured "unusually high marks" in the Tamil language exam conducted by India Post.  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR upon receiving a complaint from the Tamil Nadu postal department. The department scrapped the exam a few days ago.  The issue was brought to notice by students in Tamil Nadu who wrote the exam, conducted in November 2016, to apply for the posts of postmen and mail guards. When the results were made public, they discovered that Haryanvis had topped even the Tamil exam.  "It was revealed that candidates from Haryana who had scored high had studied under Haryana State Board of Education and there was no chance of them having proficiency in Tamil language," the FIR stated.

Moving away, to global news, news reports confirm that Ethiopia has cut  off its entire internet for a WEEK to try to stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media.  MailOnline reports that Ethiopia has cut off internet access nationwide until at least June 8 to try to stop cheats from posting high school exam papers on social media, a government official said on Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of students will take the tests throughout the Horn of Africa country with Grade 10 exams taking place from May 31 until June 2, and Grade 12 tests from June 5 until June 8.  Last year, exam papers were widely posted online, prompting the government to reschedule the tests, which are the main public exams for 16- and 18-year-olds to secure places at university and on vocational courses.   'The shutdown is aimed at preventing a repeat of leaks that occurred last year,' Mohammed Seid, public relations director of Ethiopia's Office for Government Communications Affairs, told Reuters.  'We are being proactive. We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings.'

Mohammed did not give a precise date regarding when the shutdown would be lifted, but added it would last throughout the exam period.  He said only access to social media outlets was cut off and that services such as airline bookings and banking requiring internet access remained intact.  It is not the first time that Addis Ababa has pulled the plug on the internet. At the height of protests in late 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia imposed a blanket ban for weeks before disrupting only social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.  Critics say Ethiopia, an important Horn of Africa ally of the West sandwiched between volatile Somalia and Sudan, often clamps down on freedoms under the guise of national security. The government denies the accusations.

More so on our educational systems and the attempts to win somehow !!

With regards – S.Sampathkumar

3rd June 2017.

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