A surveillance camera in London. Text by graffiti artist Banksy.
Erasmus University Rotterdam is the first university in the Netherlands to install cameras to put an end to cheating during exams, but the Dutch National Union of Students fears for the privacy of the students on the recordings.
Some 20 cameras are to be installed in the exam hall that can accommodate 1,050 students; the recordings will be stored and then checked for fraudulent conduct after the exam, on the instructions of the invigilators. The university wants to stress that this will only be done by the examination board and by agreement, and that the recorded images will automatically be wiped after four days. “Nobody is going to sit there and watch the screen non-stop”, insists spokesman Jacco Neleman.“We’re not doing it because there is more cheating going on here than elsewhere; we’re introducing some new measures to stop cheating to reinforce the credibility of our education.” The Dutch National Union of Students is not convinced, according to its chairman, Kai Heijneman. “This is taking things much too far. I’ve heard that the recordings will not just be checked if an invigilator recommends it, but that they’ll be checked if there are unexpected results, or if similar answers are given – it’s suddenly suspicious if you do well! The recordings will be erased after four days, so they say, but exam results are only announced weeks later. In that case, how can you check the recordings if someone turns out to have a good mark? But above all, it’s where things are heading that worries me. It’s Big Brother all over again for students.” According to spokesman Caroline van Overbeeke, Leiden University does not have plans to record exams. MS