Officials said that students shared answers of an examination, that has now been cancelled, on WhatsApp groups.
Twenty-eight mobile phones used by students inside exam halls have been seized in connection with an incident of mass cheating and irregularities reported in four engineering colleges under the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University based in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. Malpractices had been reported in four engineering colleges affiliated to the university during supplementary examinations held on October 23. A Bachelor of Technology (BTech) exam on ‘Linear Algebra and Complex Analysis’ was subsequently cancelled owing to the irregularities.
Investigation has found that several WhatsApp groups had been formed for sharing the answers and some groups had shared answers for seventy-five marks for the subject. Many of the seized mobile phones are now locked. These phones can be blocked and WhatsApp can be removed using duplicate SIM cards or using other electronic devices through an email account, officials said. Principals of these colleges, hence, have suggested that there are technical limitations for further checking of mobile phones to find out more information.
Of the 28 mobile phones seized, 16 were from one college, ten from another and one each from two other colleges, said a press statement issued by the University on Tuesday. Mobile phones are prohibited in examination halls and students had been instructed to keep them outside the premises.
It has been reported that some students had kept mobile phones outside the examination halls to mislead invigilators, but kept other mobile phones with them while writing the exam. The students who entered the exam halls with mobile phones would be disqualified from writing that exam consecutively for the next three terms.
“In some of the colleges from where the mass cheating was reported, there have been reports of the students shouting at teachers for demanding that they do not keep their mobile phones with them. Also, it is important to find out if similar incidents have taken place in other colleges and during other examinations,” the statement said.
The information regarding the seizure of mobile phones emerged during an online hearing conducted by the syndicate examination sub-committee of the university that consists of the principals and teachers of the examination wings of the colleges concerned. The hearing has been conducted as directed by Vice-Chancellor MS Rajashree. The VC has also directed principals of these colleges to convene the disciplinary committee meeting and submit a detailed report within five days.