New Turkish formula to allow headscarved students into exams

YÖK and ÖSYM try to remove legal obstacle before headscarf freedom in exams.

New Turkish formula to allow headscarved students into exams


World Bulletin / News Desk

The Higher Education Board (YÖK) and the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) have found a way to allow those students who wear headscarves to take exams, in an effort to remove legal obstacle before headscarf freedom.

Students will be allowed into exam sessions only after undertaking a retinal scan.

Last month, the Council of State issued a stay of execution on an earlier decision that allowed students who wear the headscarf entry into exams, saying the headscarf "makes it difficult to identify students."

ÖSYM decided to tighten measures during examinations taking into consideration the scandals that emerged in relation to the State Personnel Examination (KPSS).

In response to the Council of State's decision, ÖSYM has prepared a legal regulation that will require not only students who wear the headscarf but all students to pass through a retinal scan before they are allowed to take a test. ÖSYM previously recommended checking student fingerprints before exams.

Students to take exams on computer

ÖSYM has agreed to take a series of measures to ensure safer and more reliable testing in the next year. All exams will be taken on a computer. Exam booklets and answer sheets will not be used. All computers or laptops will be turned on at the same time when the testing begins. Students will be assigned a password that they will use to access the exam and answer the questions.

The use of retinal scans and passwords will ensure there is no cheating during the exams. The chances of questions being stolen will be minimized to a large extent. Questions will only become available once students access the exam screen on the computer. The use of computers will also enable students to learn their scores right away. Answers will be evaluated and scored immediately, and the results will be available to students as soon as the test is over.

Objections to fingerprints

ÖSYM formerly recommended taking fingerprints from students before exams. But the recommendation was strongly criticized because of the risk of fingerprints being misused in other places. In response, the ÖSYM has turned to retinal scanning as a solution.

But many people criticize the idea of retinal scanning as well. Some experts note that a court order is necessary for each and every student that will have their fingerprints taken or undergo a retinal scan. The same group of people says an amendment to laws or bylaws will not be enough and claim such a move requires an amendment to the Constitution.

According to Article 20 of the Constitution, personal information cannot be collected without a court order. According to Article 81 of the Code of Criminal Procedures (CMK), a prosecutor's order is necessary to take the fingerprints of a person who is suspected of a crime that has an upper limit of imprisonment of two years or more.

ÖSYM, however, says the references to the Constitution and the CMK regarding retinal scanning are ridiculous and argues the claims are an effort to implement the Council of State's decision.

With preparations for the Transition to Higher Education Examination (YGS) scheduled for March 27 all set, ÖSYM has developed a formula in response to requests to be able to wear the headscarf while taking the exam. Some circles claim students can hide listening devices in their ears without being caught if they wear a headscarf. As a remedy, small rooms or booths will be set up in building where the exams will be held. Students who wear the headscarf will be searched in these rooms before entering the exam hall. Only students who wear a headscarf will be searched in the room and all searches will be conducted by female security officers.

Doctors the first to try new system

ÖSYM plans on using computerized exams starting in 2012. Until computerized exams become available, the tests will be marked by an optical reader. Exam results will be available online within five days.

The first exam to be taken on a computer will be the specialty exam medical doctors take. A pilot test of the new system will be conducted in May.

To ensure test security, ÖSYM will prohibit test takers from going to the bathroom as well. Only those who have health problems and have submitted a medical report will be allowed to use the bathroom.

ÖSYM has presented its new examination system to YÖK and the government. After a cheating scandal at ÖSYM, 180 experts were transferred from ÖSYM to YÖK through a bill passed by Parliament.

Under the new plans, there will be serious punishments in place to prevent future cheating scandals. Those who cheat or help candidates to cheat in the ÖSYM examinations can be imprisoned for six months to four years.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Şubat 2011, 18:01