07 March 2011

Japan universities rocked by cheating scandal

But it's not quite what you would expect. It's not a case of students at the universities cheating on exams or term papers. Instead it's high-tech cheating at the institutions' entrance exams. The test taker allegedly took photos of test questions, posted them to a 'help' site run by Yahoo Japan, got answers and used them to complete the test. All under the supposedly watchful eye of invigilation.

I would argue, though, that the universities involved (e.g., Kyoto University) have no one but themselves to blame. They run their own exams in order to make lots of money because they accept applications from far more people than they could possibly admit as students. Lower-ranked universities scramble to get enough students to enroll while these elite universities (both public and private) profit from testing huge numbers and turning most of them away. And then they are too cheap to provide proper invigilation.

Here is a link to a Japan Times article, with excerpt following the link.


excerpt of Japan Times (Kyodo News) article:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Alleged cheat handed to prosecutors

KYOTO (Kyodo) Police handed a 19-year-old preparatory school student over to prosecutors Saturday for allegedly "disrupting" a university entrance exam last week by using a cell phone to solicit answers online during the test.

The Sendai prep school student, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, is suspected of cheating by posting questions from Kyoto University's entrance exam on an online help site and using the answers that were provided.

According to the Kyoto Prefectural Police, the student said he entered text from the exam questions into his mobile phone with his left hand during the math and English tests for Kyoto University on Feb. 25 and 26.

The police believe he then wrote down the responses posted by other Internet users on Yahoo Japan's Chiebukuro (Pearls of Wisdom) question-and-answer service with his right hand, they said.

The student also admitted cheating in a similar way on the exams for Waseda, Doshisha and Rikkyo universities earlier the same month, they said.

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