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Renowned education system has a flip side: ingrained cheating

Testing system has prompted many students to cheat in order to pass

cheating-testingThe voice that answers the number posted on the online ad is polished, confident: No one will suspect anything, he says. The gadget has never failed.

A college senior, he sounds younger on the phone but assures the caller that he speaks from experience. He gives his name as Anil and quotes his price: about $40. Minutes later he texts, offering a 6 percent discount.

That’s the price to cheat on one of India’s all-important tests, a pressure-packed exercise that holds the key to the country’s most coveted colleges, universities and postgraduate programs.

Anil, a medical student in southern India who asked that his full name be withheld, was selling a tiny wireless earpiece, scarcely bigger than the head of a pin. The earpiece receives a signal from a cellphone via a transmitter. During exams, Anil conceals the transmitter under a loose-fitting shirt, texts pictures of the test questions to a friend at home and receives answers over the phone.

(Next page: What prompted this cheating culture?)

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