The ban of the brà with metallic clasps as part of measures to prevent students from cheating in the just concluded national entrance examination in China drew flack from official media that said such stern steps were “misguided”.
Over nine million high school students across China took the exams on Friday and Saturday. It is the national college entrance exams, or Gaokao, the sole determinant for admission to virtually all Chinese universities and colleges.
But for students in Jilin Province, taking the test may not fare the most complicated of matters – entering the actual exam site might be. Contesters are not permitted to wear anything with metal. If a security machine spots the element, students will not be allowed to enter.
The machines won’t even forgive the tiny clasps in girls’ bras. In fact, female students are best advised to wear undershirts instead so that when they pass through security, no “zizi” sound is made. Those who successfully pass the machine will be tagged with a “qualified” badge on their clothes, a “coat of armor” that keeps them within the boundaries of the new rule.
Such a requirement is not without reason, however. Each year, cheating scandals during gaokao irritate the Chinese public, already shocked by the increasingly sophisticated methods being used. The common tactic that used to be popular, in which students gave their identification cards to hired lookalikes, has become easily spotted and outdated. Later, students would be outfitted with tiny earpieces so that someone outside the exam site could transmit the answers by cellphone.
In 2008, it was reported that some girls in Jiangsu Province even took mini-cameras inside their bràs so they could transmit images of the exam paper to people waiting elsewhere to provide the answers.
It explains why Jilin authorities are resorting to the “strictest” means to prevent cheats from arriving with high-tech devices, which cast a shadow over the test, considered to be a fair platform to assess the intelligence of all Chinese youth regardless of their backgrounds, be it those from well-off families or rural areas.