Subtle: Iraq Flips The Internet Switch For 3 Hours To Combat Cheating Students And Corrupted Teachers
from the well-okay-then dept
We've talked about cheating in academia in the past, usually revolving around whether or not what used to be called cheating might be better thought of as collaboration. Beyond that, we've also talked about some of the strategies used to combat the modernity of "cheating", which has included the monitoring of students online activities to make sure they weren't engaged in cheating behavior.
Well, the nation of Iraq doesn't have time for all of this monitoring and sleuthing. When its students have their standardized tests, they simply shut the damned internet off completely.
For a few hours each morning, the Iraqi government keeps cutting off internet access—to keep students from cheating on their end-of-year exams. As reported by DYN research, which tracks internet blackouts around the world, the country’s access went almost entirely dead between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. in the morning on Saturday, Sunday and again on Monday.And this isn't the first time the Iraqi government has gone about things in this way. Last year, they pulled the same lever to shut down internet access to the country, with the same explanation that it was combatting a scourge of question and answer sharing occuring online. What's interesting about this is that the real problem appears to be the teachers, not the students. Teachers in Iraq are apparently regularly bribed by students to share the questions and answers to tests and that those leaks are then spread across the internet for other Iraqi students to see.
“What happens usually is that some teachers would be giving the exams questions to students who pay money, then [those] students would sell online questions all over country,” one Iraqi, who requested his name not be used in a story, told Vocativ. “Between 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. [is when teachers finalize questions] so this is the time when teachers [who have been paid off would] give questions to students by Facebook or Viber or Whatsapp and so on.”Now, perhaps this move is effective in its aims. I don't know, since students looking to cheat haven't exactly always required the internet to do so. Still, even if it were, there must be another more subtle yet effective way to combat this cheating scourge. Perhaps one that doesn't interrupt internet access for, oh I don't know, everyone else in the entire country. Because the effects of this blackout aren't exactly limited to students.
Human rights groups were outraged at the outage. “We see this, especially in such a destabilized country as Iraq, as really terrible. It’s a lot of people under a media and communications blackout,” Deji Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at the internet freedom nonprofit, told Vocativ.Come on guys, figure this out.