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Police In India Arrest Hundreds In 10th-Grade Cheating Scandal

Authorities in India have reportedly arrested some 300 people and expelled 600 students in connection with a massive cheating scandal in the northeastern state of Bihar, as 10th-graders from across the country sit for crucial examinations this week that will determine their educational future.

The crackdown follows the airing of television footage this week that showed parents, relatives and friends of the students scaling the outer walls of school buildings so they could pass cheat sheets to test-takers.

"[Dozens] of people — said to be family members of the students — were seen climbing the walls of an exam centre and flinging answer sheets into various rooms where their wards were writing the exam in [Bihar's western] Vaishali district," The Times of India writes.

India Today says that a total of 300 people have been arrested, including 150 parents and relatives at exam centers in Vaishali alone, according to police sources.

The Times says cheating was continuing today and that it was so rampant in Vaishali that police were being forced to "fire in the air and carry out a baton charge to disperse people who were helping students to copy."

According to the BBC, Bihar's Education Minister P.K. Shahi has decried the burden placed on the government to try to prevent the rampant abuse.

"Three to four people helping a single student would mean that there is a total of 6 to 7 million people helping students cheat," he said. "Is it the responsibility of the government alone to manage such a huge number of people and to conduct a 100 percent free and fair examination?"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.