Drones, digital surveillance and now, facial recognition: all three have been deployed in the fight against cheating on China's yearly high-stakes exam, the gaokao.
According to Shenzhen's testing office, this year marks the first time that the technology has been used to verify local students' identities. Shenzhen's No. 7 Senior High School is ground zero for the new measures, one of only two sites in Guangdong to use facial recognition during this week's exams.
The other 47 exam locations in Shenzhen aren't exactly skimping on anti-cheating safeguards, either. According to the local testing office, all sites are using fingerprint verification and metal detectors for exam-takers. In addition, SZNews.com reports, specially equipped vehicles near testing grounds can detect and prevent electronic forms of communication that might be used for cheating.
Forty-seven thousand, six hundred students are expected to sit the grueling gaokao exams in Shenzhen today and tomorrow, up 4,024 from last year's count.
The notoriously difficult test, taken by high school seniors, plays a large role in determining which colleges students can enter – and, by extension, their future career trajectories.
Students and their families have been known to move to different provinces for a shot at better scores (sometimes to no avail), or to shell out tens of thousands of yuan to hire surrogate test-takers.
To help prevent the latter, Shenzhen's testing office plans to expand the use of facial recognition tech in coming years. Given the high-stakes nature of the gaokao, though, even that may not be enough to put a halt to cheating.
[Cover image via Pengan.gov.cn]