Thai university calls for cheating law

Thailand has been trying to establish a reputation for health tourism. Source: Wikimedia

A major university in Thailand is calling for a change in legislation to enable it to prosecute cheating students and the criminals who help them.

The request comes after three female medical students were discovered using high-tech cheating methods.

Rangsit University in Bangkok cancelled its examinations on Saturday and Sunday for admission to its medical and dental schools after embedded cameras and smart-watches with stored information were discovered.

The use of technology has taken the traditional Thai practice of cheating to a new level.

Cameras were used to take photos of the examination papers and the smart-watches received answers from someone outside.

Naret Panthataratorn, deputy dean of Rangsit University, said: “They have found two pairs of glasses with a hidden camera inside the glass frame. And three electronic wrist watches that are communication devices to receive answer from a ‘command centre’.”

Naret said a group of hired students would be sent to take the exam wearing a special pair of glasses. The camera hidden in the glasses would video the test questions.

A team would send the file to another group, which Naret called the problem-solving team.

Naret said there would be more than one expert, as knowledge of various fields was needed. The team would answer the questions and text the answers to the customers’ smart watches.

There were about 3,000 students taking the entrance exams and the university has ordered retakes.

The students involved would be blacklisted from Rangsit, the deputy dean said. The university was pursuing criminal and civil action against them, but there was no specific charge regarding exam cheating, he said.

Three students were caught by invigilators overseeing the exam on Saturday. Over the next day three more were caught.

The university said the youngsters were part of a group that was charging students thousands of dollars for examination answers.

“Exam cheating is not a minor offence. It’s the start of other criminal offences,” said Rangsit administrator Kittisak Tripipatpornchai.

“If we don’t have law or tough measures to deal with this, our education system will never be competitive with other countries,” Kittisak added.

Analysts argue that cheating has increased because of a selection system that uses exam scores as the only means of assessing a student’s ability and granting university admission.