A College in India Apologizes After Students Seen Wearing Boxes on Heads to Prevent Cheating

A private college in India is apologizing after its students were seen wearing boxes on their heads during an exam earlier this week—a plan supposedly devised to stop cheating.

In images circulated on social media, students of the Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri were sitting at their desks during a chemistry midterm with what appeared to be cardboard cartons on their heads.

As India's News 18 noted, the images surfaced after college staff member Sateesh Herur posted them on his Facebook account the day of the test. Herur reportedly captioned the pictures: "It's our college midterm exam today. That is Bhagat PU College, Haveri."

The country's department of education soon caught wind of the pictures and immediately rebuked the school's anti-cheating measures, The Times of India reported.

"We have clearly told the management to give a written explanation and if this kind of incident is repeated in the future, the department will cancel the license of the school," said S.C. Peerjade, deputy director of the local pre-education board.

M.B. Sateesh, one of the school's directors, initially stood by the decision.

"We implemented this idea to curb malpractice and not to harass students. This is just an experiment," he said. "We discussed it with students and took their consent before implementing it."

students, exams
Stock photo Chinnapong/iStock/Getty Images/Getty

He later told the BBC that he was "sorry" for the incident. "There was no compulsion of any kind. You can see in the photograph that some students were not wearing it," he said. "Some who wore it removed it after 15 minutes, some after 20 minutes and we ourselves asked them to remove it after one hour."

According to the India Today, the school has had issues with students cheating in the past, despite continued warnings from faculty.

The incident has since caught the attention of educators across India, some of whom took to social media to express their dissatisfaction.

"Students 'thinking inside' the box," tweeted Francis Joseph, head of Mumbai's School Leader Network Foundation. "Ashamed that a college in #Karnataka #India have compelled students to wear cardboard boxes to prevent cheating. Where are we heading to with education, especially with such practices on assessments in today's 21st century age."

"This is inhuman and a civilized society will never accept such an idea. I hope this is never repeated again," Peerjade said, doubling down on the education department's stance. "There are traditional ways of managing students and preventing malpractice in the examination hall and the college can resort to them."