BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Alistair Lawson
"The main problem seem to be students somehow getting smuggled notes into the exam hall"
 real 28k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Exam crisis in Bangladesh
Schoolgirls sitting exams
Exams are often a tense time in Bangladeshi schools
By Alastair Lawson in Dhaka

At least another 8,000 high school candidates have been expelled for cheating in Bangladesh, bringing the total to about 15,000 since exams began at the end of last week.

The expulsions sparked clashes between police and exam candidates in which more than 100 people were injured.

Software developers in Bangladesh
A good result is a ticket to a lucrative job
The developments have left Bangladesh's high school examination system in crisis.

In rural Bangladesh - where the problem is most acute - it is doubtful whether any of the results can now be considered valid.

Although cheating is commonplace at this time of the year, the latest bout of mass expulsions is embarrassing for the government.

It launched a high profile campaign against cheating shortly before the exams started, but the situation has only worsened.

Angry students

Throughout the country, there have been clashes outside examination centres involving students, political parties and police.

Some of the violence has been attributed to angry students who rioted after they were expelled.

Policeman on guard
Police have been guarding exam centres
In other cases, clashes began when police tried to stop unauthorised people from entering the exam hall.

Gunshots were fired in the air, and several people were arrested trying to smuggle notes to candidates inside the examination hall.

At least 15 teachers have been dismissed from their jobs, accused of helping students to cheat.

The government says that the problem cannot be solved until the country's education system has been radically reformed.

But, with a general election looming, no major changes are likely to be introduced imminently, especially when exam results are so politically sensitive.

The results of the latest papers will determine the future careers of over half a million students.

Scope for analysis

Schools which perform badly could have their funding curtailed by the government.

The Bangladeshi education minister, AS Sadik, said that one of the most urgent issues was to address the way exam questions are set.

He said that at the moment it is possible for cheats to secure high marks simply by quoting directly from a text book.

Mr Sadik said the questions should allow more scope for analysis, which required a change in the attitude of some teachers.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

06 May 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh tough on school cheats
28 Apr 00 | South Asia
S Asia 'could do better' on education
03 Mar 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh exam stampede kills five
26 May 99 | Education
An English teacher in Bangladesh
01 Apr 98 | S/W Asia
Report slams South Asian education
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories