New way of cheating - LINE and WhatsApp

If you were to drop in on most Cambodian high school these days, especially in the city, what would you see? Mobile phones. Students and mobile phones are almost the combination. Virtually, everyone has one, not only mobile phone but also Smartphone, which is an easy device to connect and stay with Internet 24 hours.

 Warning paper of what students should not do during the exam this year. / Photo suppliedThank to the modern technology that allows them to keep in touch with their family and friends and stay up-to-date in this advancing world. However, emerging of this new technology has created another new culture; students turn this device as a tool for cheating in class during exam.

Soramarine, a former high school student and now a year 3 student at Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), recalled her experience when she was in grade 9 that students used mobile phone as tools to cheat by just making call or messaging. During that time, not many students have Smartphone with such these smart applications.

Mak Vann, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, gave comment to through phone on Sunday July 5, one day before exam day, said that “Ministry has the exact rule since century ago. About this year rule, the only person who is allowed to use mobile phone is the director of the exam center because ministry knows that current technology is very powerful to be used to cheat.”

On the other hand, it has become a tradition that students do cheat in class during exam. Soramarine said, “An exam without documents is something like a city without electricity,” adding that she was also one of students who cheat in class during exam. She added, “Student cheating style is updated from year to year!”

What is new is that students are using their Smartphones with Internet connection to share documents and acquire answers. Simply says, they capture the picture of tests and answers, then post on Facebook or share to their friends through LINE or WhatsApp, said Vity, 16, a grade 12 student in 2011-2012 at Sisowath High School. “It grows rapidly; most of the friends turn to use Smartphone, especially iPhone, before the exam,” Vity added.

Chea Cheat, the Chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Education, Youth and Sports, told the CambodiaCircles reporter on July 27 that this year is the same to last year. "We do not allow students to take phones or documents to do copying. In case they want to take their phones inside, they have to turn it off," he said. However, the rule is not strictly implemented.

LINE and WhatsApp are cross-platform mobile messaging or commonly known as new communication apps for various types of devices such as iPhone or Andriod. The applications allow users to make and send message, voice call, pictures, and video quickly and easily whenever and wherever the device is connected to the Internet.

It is much easier and faster. A student just shares a document then 10 or up to 50 students, who also use the applications, get it. Tharo, 17, a grade 12 student at Sisowath High School, said “Everyone does it, so why not me? I am afraid I would get low score.” Before the exam day coming, Tharo and his friends gather some other friends even with different classes or schools to make up a group chat through LINE and WhatsApp so that they can easily share information in the big size from the Smartphone.

The applications only use the Internet data plan. Both LINE and WhatsApp have the same functions; they have the group chat and can be added up to 100 friends. They have been ranked in top list in iPhone’s AppStore free app category.

According to a research institution GFK Group, Cambodia has nine licensed mobile operators, and the increasing number of Smartphones in Cambodia is now at 70% while Singapore is at 67% and Malaysia is at 58%. Internet price in Cambodia has decreased subsequently after the mobile industry constitutes many competitors.

This is not the first year of the story about how students use their mobile phones to cheat during exam. For instant, on August 18, 2010, there was an article published by AFP detailing how Cambodian students used their cell phones call for their answers during exam.

According to research and market website, market research Resource Company, it has been estimated that this year Cambodia has 13 million mobile subscribers (penetration 87%).

Article by: RITHY LomorPich
She blogs at
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About Writer:

LomorPich's PhotoRITHY LomorPich is a sophomore of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC), and also a radio DJ at Teen FM 92.7 MHz. Whenever you see her, you see her with a camera. Once she takes photo, she means something. Writing is another tool for her to reveal what's inside her photo. With photograph and writing, she believes her voice can be heard.
Her motto is, “Start from something small. Maybe it is not perfect, but it could be better and bigger.”
She started working for the CambodiaCircles in April 2012.