Watch out! Thai exam cheat triggers phone-watch ban

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai students will be barred from wearing watches in national university entrance exams this weekend after a student was caught cheating using a mobile phone wrist watch, Education Ministry officials said on Wednesday.

Photographs of the phone watch would be sent to exam centers around the country and students would have to rely on wall clocks, they said.

“I have ordered the 18 examination centers nationwide to ban students wearing all kinds of watches to the exams this weekend,” senior ministry official Sumate Yamnoon told reporters.

The ban followed invigilators catching a student receiving text messages on his phone watch during a national exam in Bangkok last weekend.

The novel method of cheating was a reflection of the difficulty of earning a university place in a country where some university engineering or medicine departments might take only one in 100 candidates.

“Cheating techniques have developed along with technology advancement. What will students use next year after the mobile phone wrist watch this year?” a baffled Utumporn Jamornman, another senior ministry official, asked reporters.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Michael Battye