Apparently, local education authorities are serious about cutting down on cheating on important examinations, such as the National Postgraduate School Entrance Exam held over the weekend.
One student learned the hard way when his cell phone rang during the test, earning him an immediate disqualification.
The student, whose name was not disclosed, was applying to enter an MBA program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He failed to follow clear instructions to switch off all telecom devices.
Last December, the Ministry of Education announced that anyone taking a mobile phone or beeper into an exam would be kicked out immediately.
"The new regulation was made to guarantee a fair examination environment and prevent any possible cheating behavior," said Shen Benliang, deputy director of the Shanghai Educational Examination Authority. He said that the problem of students using phones and beepers to cheat on tests has become rampant throughout the country.
Proctors at nine exam centers around the city are also taking extra steps to check the identity of all examinees to prevent anyone from having a friend sit important tests for them, Shen added.
Competition to enter graduate schools is increasing rapidly as a growing number of students apply to programs after failing to find a decent job. Last year, a record 85,000 students applied to enter graduate school in Shanghai, a 7.7 percent increase over 2002.
Most of the applicants are recent university graduates, with about 75 percent of them coming from outside the city, according to education authorities.
"Since finding a good job is more and more difficult for university students, especially for us migrants, I would rather choose to continue my studies to better prepare for my future job-hunt," said Ni Na, a university student from Sichuan Province.
A recent survey of students at Shanghai University and Donghua University indicated that nearly 54 percent of university students applied for postgraduate programs because they were worried about not being able to find a decent job.
(Eastday.com January 12, 2004)