Singaporean tutor convicted in FaceTime-powered exam cheating plot


SINGAPORE: A Singaporean private tutor has been convicted over an elaborate scheme to help Chinese secondary school students cheat in an exam using mobile phones and wireless devices, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Tan Jia Yan, 32, pleaded guilty on Monday to her part in the plot in which answers to O-Level exams were relayed to at least six students via mobile phones concealed under their clothing and connected wirelessly to skin-colored earpieces, they said.
Tan, who will be sentenced next month, faces a jail term of up to three years and a fine.
Academic excellence is highly valued in Singapore which often tops international education rankings, although the system has been criticized for putting children under too much pressure at a young age.
The Chinese nationals who took the exams in October, 2016 were students at a tuition center where Tan was a teacher.
Students in the city-state often go for extra tuition in order to have better chances of passing key exams such as O-Levels, which determine if they can qualify for junior college, a direct path to university.
Details of the case provided by the Attorney General’s Chambers said Tan conspired with three accomplices to cheat the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board.
On the test days, the students were made to conceal mobile phones and Bluetooth devices under their clothing and wear an earpiece, according to the prosecutors.
Tan, who was also among those taking the exams, had an iPhone taped on her chest area and she concealed the device by wearing a jacket.
Once the tests started, Tan used the iPhone’s video chat app FaceTime to connect with her three accomplices and provided a “live feed of the exam papers” she was answering, according to the prosecutors.
The accomplices — who have pleaded not guilty — would find the answers to the questions and call the students individually to relay the answers.
“Investigations revealed that the above sophisticated cheating operations ran uninterrupted from 19 October until 24 October 2016,” the prosecutors said.
The cheating was exposed on the final day when one of the students was caught after an invigilator heard “unusual electronic transmission sounds emitting from him,” they said.


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