The Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) announced that students appearing for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams in March 2019 will not be allowed to wear wrist watches to the exams. As an affinity for smart watches grows, officials fear that the bluetooth enabled devices may be utilised to cheat in the examinations and are banning all watches during exam hours. Wrist watches are also thought to be a convenient way for students to conceal and bring chits to the examination halls.
â€śThe heads of the examination centre can use their accumulated corpus fund to buy the wall clocks,â€ť KSEEB Director V Sumangala told The Hindu, adding that all superintendents of examination centres will be directed to install a wall clock for students to manage time with during the exams.
This decision, however, is being met begrudgingly by some students and parents, who feel that a blanket ban is not the answer. Some parents and students have voiced their concerns, stating that it is understandable to warrant a ban on digital watches, but to permit students to wear regular watches, so that they may be able to monitor the time during their examinations. However, the KSEEB director responded to this by stating that the administrators did not have the time to check each studentsâ€™ watch and view the ban as the most effective method of curbing cheating using digital watches.
Last year, the board had issued color-coded ID cards for the first time, for visiting invigilators and had also banned the presence of all mobile phones in examination centre premises for students and invigilators.
Several instances of cheating during the board exams have been reported in the past. In 2016, two minors were arrested on charges of cheating and impersonation during an SSLC exam wherein one of them, a II PU student, had allegedly posed as a student of class 10 and attempted to write the exam in place of the actual student.