Cheating has been around as long as schools, classrooms, and exams have, but technology such as smartwatches has made the anti-cheating strategy of schools and administrators even more difficult. Kyoto University has banned smartwatches from its entrance exams starting this year, but some institutions haven't and are facing the consequences of not doing so. The latest academic cheating scandal concerns a Thailand University and three female students who had some help (both personal and technological) in cheating on their medical exams.
Rangsit University in Thailand held its medical exams as it always does, but three students decide to cheat their way to success. The three female students purchased what the Associated Press (AP) calls "100 percent guaranteed admittance packages" for 800,000 baht (Thailand currency; $23,000 USD in American dollars). Agents disguised as students went into the exams and stayed there for the mandatory 45-minute period, taking pictures of the exam questions with the tiny cameras in their eye glasses. Next, the eyeglass images went to a computer that was operated by an independent party (not in the classroom), who then sent the female students still in the exam room the corresponding answers. The eyeglasses and smartwatches were discovered on Saturday and Sunday during the exam sessions. The Rangsit CEO posted pictures of the devices on Facebook as a way to alert others that high-tech cheating is now in order in academic institutions.
Technology such as smartwatches is a good thing in our society. Technology and mobile gadgets make our lives easier, increase our productivity, and so on, but despite their positives, they can also be used in negative ways. Back when I was very young in the 1990s, Casio calculator watches were also used in exams and tests to help students cheat. The difference between now and then is that students are much more tech-savvy than they were in the 1990s. While this could easily be spun into a "see how dangerous and cruel technology is" story, it really goes to show that when the human will decides to do something illegal, technology, being neutral by default, can be used in the effort (even to do something terrible and tragic). Taking away or removing the technology will never eliminate the plots by humans to bypass or bend the rules when they perceive some sort of benefit from doing so.
The students have been denied the opportunity to retake exams and will likely be barred from applying to medical school in Thailand or the continent altogether. At any rate, a Facebook response to the cheating incident sums up the thoughts of many on the subject:
If you can't take responsibility for your own life, you don't deserve to become a doctor, which is a career that has to take responsibility for others' lives.
Responsibility starts with each of us before we can take responsibility for others. If we aren't an example, then how can we lead anyone else?