THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The seizure of a large number of mobile phones used for alleged malpractice during a recent examination conducted by the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University has brought to the fore the use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp for cheating in the examination. As many as 28 mobile phones that were allegedly sneaked into the exam halls were seized from four engineering colleges during the BTech third semester supplementary examinations held on October 23. Of these, 16 were confiscated from one college, 10 from another college and one each from the two other colleges.
Information about the seizure came up during an online hearing, conducted by the KTU Syndicate examination sub-committee, with the principals and examination department teachers of these colleges, here on Tuesday. Mobile phones are prohibited in examination halls and candidates who enter the hall with a mobile phone unlawfully are debarred for that particular examination for the next three consecutive terms.
Heated arguments between the invigilators and candidates were witnessed after the mobile phones were confiscated.
Meanwhile, authorities have expressed concerns over the evidence regarding the malpractice being erased from the phones in custody.
“Many of the seized mobile phones are now locked. These phones can be blocked and the WhatsApp can be removed using duplicate SIM cards or using other electronic devices through an e-mail account,” said a varsity official.
Principals of four colleges cited technical limitations for re-checking mobile phones and finding more information about the malpractice, during the hearing. However, KTU authorities have asked the principals of colleges where malpractices have been reported to convene the disciplinary committee meeting and submit a detailed report within five days.
KTU Vice Chancellor M S Rajasree, Pro-Vice Chancellor S Ayoob and Syndicate examination sub-committee members participated in the hearing.
According to KTU, several WhatsApp groups have been formed for a subject and some groups had shared answers for as much as 75 marks.
Some candidates reportedly kept their mobile phone outside the exam hall to mislead invigilators but carried out the malpractice using another mobile that was sneaked into exam hall.