'No shoes or socks' to stop India students from exam cheating

Cheating in Saharsa Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2016, parents of students were photographed climbing school walls to pass on answers in Bihar

Authorities in India's eastern state of Bihar have asked students not to wear shoes or socks to stop them from cheating during exams.

Officials told the BBC that the measure was to stop students from sneaking notes with answers into the exam hall.

The rule comes into effect on 21 February when roughly 1.8 million 15-year-olds will appear for their final school exam - the class 10 test.

Bihar has long been notorious for students cheating in tests.

Officials said students would also be searched before they enter the exam hall and that they would be monitored by video while writing answers to the exam questions.

Students who turn up in shoes or socks would be asked to stand outside the exam hall, one official said.

In 2016, Bihar state had announced measures such as fines and jail terms to stop cheating in school exams.

A 17-year-old top-performing student from the state was arrested after she was suspected of cheating and failed a retest.

In 2013, more than 1,600 students were expelled for cheating in school. And 100 parents were also detained for helping their children cheat in the exams.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 1.8 million students will appear for their class 10 test.

After authorities cracked down on cheating in 2016, Bihar's pass rate fell from more than 70% in 2014 and 2015 to barely 50%.

Acing school exams is seen as crucial for a successful career in India. While school enrolment has risen and reading levels have improved, the quality of teaching in most schools remains dismal.

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