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Friday, 3 March, 2000, 09:49 GMT
Bangladesh exam stampede kills five

Five people have been trampled to death in Bangladesh in a stampede to enter an examination hall on the first day of school tests.

Officials in Kaloroa, in the southern district of Satkhira - 176km (110 miles) southwest of the capital Dhaka - had few details on the incident but said three of the dead were students and another a teacher.

The father of one of the dead students is reported to have died of a heart attack after hearing of his daughter's death.

Cheating claims

Nearly 1,700 students were sitting nationwide Secondary School Certificate exams in the three-storied school building.

The English exam went ahead, despite the accident.

The students were part of almost one million around the country who are taking part in month-long exams.

In a separate incident, a school attendant in the eastern town of Comilla was stabbed to death for trying to prevent relations of the students supplying them with answers to the tests.

Education officials say nearly 7,000 students and 35 teachers were expelled for cheating nationwide.

Correspondents say Bangladesh has failed to prevent widespread abuse of the examination system, despite promises of preventative measures.

Police and witnesses said cheating and violence were reported mostly from the countryside, and exams in the capital Dhaka and other major towns were largely peaceful and orderly.
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