Kazakhstan: Creative High School Cheaters Foiled
It’s a high-stakes time of the year in Kazakhstan as graduating high school students head into the make-or-break final exam that will determine their future prospects. Some are leaving nothing to chance, local media report.
Invigilators in Karaganda were surprised to see one girl sitting the test with an enormous beehive hairdo – only 60 years out of date. Exploring her fluffy 'do, they discovered that she hadn’t suddenly developed a taste for 1950s fashion. No, she’d deliberately cultivated her beehive to conceal a cellphone to cheat in the exam.
The girl was allowed to sit the test after the telephone was painstakingly untangled from her hair, presumably in recognition of the amusement value her prank had caused.
The lengths she went in order to cheat seem miniscule in comparison to the efforts of a student in Ridder in northern Kazakhstan: This high school senior went to the trouble of typing out a crib sheet that stretched to an astonishing 11 meters and contained 25,000 answers, reports local website YK-news.kz.
Despite security checks, the enterprising student managed to smuggle it into the exam hall folded into sections. But there his luck ended: It was confiscated by officers from the domestic intelligence service, the KNB, who were conducting checks.
Every year the ENT national standardized exam brings new controversies: over the exam’s multi-choice format, which critics say fails to test critical-thinking skills; and over cheating, with irrepressible students trying new tricks each spring.
Astana argues that it introduced the national ENT to replace school-led exams and standardize the final qualification. The presence of KNB officers in schools at exam time is testament to how seriously education officials take cheating.
The Education Ministry adds that a national exam offers a level playing field that wipes out the chance teachers will offer preferential treatment to their own students – and there’s no denying that some education specialists might be a little indulgent.
Bolatzhan Uskenbayev, head of the Ridder education department, offered what YK-news.kz described as a “curious reaction” to the student with the 11-meter crib sheet. “The kid prepared [for the exam],” he pointed out. “That’s also labor.”