In a bizarre turn of events, the district education department issued a notice after a Karnataka college in Haveri was found making around 50 of its students wear cut-outs of cardboard boxes on their head in order to avoid cheating in exams.
"A notice has been issued to Bhagat Pre-University College seeking an explanation for forcing its students to wear cardboard boxes (cartons) while writing exams to prevent them from copying," a Haveri district Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) official was quoted as saying by IANS.
The incident which took place on Wednesday came to light after pictures showing students writing exams wearing cartons on their head as a preventive method against cheating was shared widely on social media on Friday.
Students of the co-ed college were giving exams on economics and chemistry subjects as part of the mid-term examination. The extreme measures against cheating were introduced by the college administration after many students were caught cheating during exams last year despite repeated warnings, according to News 18.
"Whatever be the purpose, they (students) cannot be made to wear cartons for writing exams. There is no rule or advice from us," the official said.
The Minister for Primary & Secondary Education, Labour and Sakala for Karnataka, S Suresh Kumar also condemned the incident.
"This is totally unacceptable. Nobody has any right to treat anybody more so students like animals. This perversion will be dealt with aptly," he tweeted.
College administrative however defended its actions and cited a similar incident in Bihar where such a method was used to prevent copying during exams and was reportedly 'appreciated' on social media.
"We tried to see how it works as a trial and told the students in advance that boxes would be given to each of them to wear before writing the exam," said college official MB Satish.
A warning of canceling the college's license was also issued by the DDPI office in response to the incident. "We have clearly told the management to give a written explanation and if this kind of incident is repeated in the future, the department will cancel the license of the school," the DDPI SS Piraje was quoted as saying said.