Cameras may monitor UK student testing

( AP ) - Surveillance cameras could start monitoring test-taking students in Britain as early as this summer in an effort to deter cheating, the head of a British exam supervisors' body said Friday.

The closed-circuit television cameras are needed to help prevent students from using gadgets such as cell phones to cheat on nationally administered tests, said Andrew Harland, the head of Britain's Exam Officers' Association.

Students may also think twice about cheating when a test supervisor's back is turned if they knew a camera was recording them, he said.

"There's definitely a deterrent there," Harland said. The cameras might also be fitted with audio recording capabilities, he added.

Harland said exam officers were interested in using the cameras to monitor students. The surveillance would not replace the exam officers but could enhance their ability to monitor students, he said.

Individual test centers will have the option of implementing the technology, which could be as early as this summer.

"I personally don't support 'Big Brother' at all, but I need to protect the interests of my members," Harland said.

Installing cameras in test centers would be another extension of Britain's already formidable surveillance network.

Teachers here have already complained about what they say is an over-monitored school system, and last month the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said it was concerned that cameras might soon be introduced to classrooms to monitor teacher performance.

Britain has one of the world's most watched societies, with millions of closed-circuit cameras catching the average person as many as 300 times a day, according to a widely cited police estimate.

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