A mobile court on Friday sentenced 12 admission seekers from different test locations to 15 days imprisonment each, for cheating in the "Ka/A unit" admission test under the Faculty of Science of Dhaka University (DU).
All of the detainees were caught with an ear piece and communication device which looks like credit card.
The detainees were - Al Imran and Nure Alam Arif who were held from the DU business department, Shah Poran from Udayan School, Abul Basar and Nahid Hasan Kawser from Sheikh Burhan Uddin College, Tanvir Hossain and SM Zakir Hossain from Ahmed Bowani Academy Centre, Rakibul Hasan and Khandaker Mirazul Islam from Ideal College, Abu Hanif Noman from Kazi Motahaer Hossain Bhaban of DU, Showmika Prodichi Sottya from Mothijil Girls’ High School and Arifa Billah Tamannna held from Lalmatiya college.
“I made a Tk2.5 lakh deal with a member of cheating syndicate, who assured that he would tell me the answers to the Physics MCQ through my mobile phone,” said Al Imran, an examinee who was apprehended at the Business Studies test site.
He, however, could not provide the name of the cheating syndicate member as the deal was conducted anonymously.
Another examinee caught at the same location, Nure Alam Arif, admitted to having agreed to pay Tk7.5 lakh to a student of Sher-E-Bangla Agriculture University named Rafi.
Rafi had assured Nure Alam that he would deliver full answer scripts thorough the listening device. Half an hour into the test, an invigilator caught Nure Alam while he was using the device.
DU proctor Prof A Amzad Ali said: “The students were held with high-tech gadgets which were used to get answers to the exam question papers”.
“Invigilators caught them from different centres while they were receiving answers from the tiny plug in their ears and a master card like electronic device hidden on their person.”
A number of the detainees told the Dhaka Tribune that the device only allowed one way communication, and there was no way for them to speak to the syndicate members with the device though the syndicate members could send answers.
According to university sources, the ear pieces were almost invisible as it had to be inserted deep into the ear and removed with tweezers. Invigilators were only able to catch the culprits when they overheard the ear piece, rather than by seeing it.
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Meanwhile, a source familiar with the cheating device, asking to remain anonymous, said that each of the devices was connected to a central machine that would transmit the answers.
The answers would be programmed into the central machine after exam question papers were leaked and solved an hour before the exam, the source added.
The verdict and aftermath
Executive Magistrate Tawhid Elahi sentenced each of the detainees to 15 days in jail after they admitted to cheating during an interrogation at the proctor’s office.
Asked about how the students entered the examination centre with gadgets even after having metal detectors in the entryways, Proctor Amzad Ali said: “The metal detector could not detect the electronic devices properly as there was a huge crowd of the students and they were rushing to the exam sites.”
“Operators of the metal detector should be more careful,” he added.
In the recent years, cheaters were sentenced to at least 2 years jail, though on this occasion the verdict was only 15 days.
The proctor said: "Our intention is to teach them a lesson by punishing the guilty with the minimum sentence. We can’t waste a student's life."
Furthermore, Sammilita Sangoskritik Jote President Golam Kuddus went to the proctor's office to speak on the behalf of one of two detained female students.
Later, Proctor Amzad Ali tried to snatch away the camera from a private news television channel’s camera person when they were taking pictures of the female student.
Prof Amzad expressed regret and said: "I did not want her to face social stigma after being seen on TV."
Blacklisted exam venues
Eden Mohila College, Dhaka College and Lalmatia Mohila College were blacklisted in 2015, as it was found that cheating syndicates were highly active at the venues. The blacklisted colleges were not used as exam venues in that year.
However, the DU authorities have already used Dhaka College and Eden Mohila College as admission test centres for the "Kha/B unit" exams in this academic session.
On Friday, DU used the blacklisted Lalmatiya Mohila College and again caught one cheater. Asked why the authorities used blacklisted colleges for the admission exams, Proctor Amzad replied: “These centres (blacklisted ones) are being used this year as we are facing an accommodation crisis. Our teaching staff members will be more careful when on duty at these sites.”