The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic and the insulation procedures that are likely to come with it are challenging the educational community. If e-learning seems easy enough to set up, what about entrance exams and regular exams in this first semester of 2020?
The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said on France Inter on February 26th: “We are prepared for e-learning, triggered on a case-by-case basis or massively, if it were to take on greater proportions”. To ensure the continuity of the State and therefore of education, the Minister counts on the expertise of the CNED.
Today, thousands of high school and university students are in their “fortnight” because of their displacement (study trips or vacations) in countries at risk.
Most Chinese schools are closed, but a virtual classroom provides access to lessons in twelve subjects. Television even offers educational programs for the most isolated regions.
The participative media The educational café specifies that, for the moment, schools depending on the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) in Asia are closed (in China, Mongolia, Vietnam, South Korea …). Instead, 3 hours of school work are offered via videoconference tools such as Zoom.
This call for bids can be read at the official China.org.cn website in English. Chinese government wants to apply all the technologies that will allow the “management of education” and “online classes”, even tests online.
Solutions for the identification of pupils or students in order to control the reliability of tests are widely requested at this moment: “5G network, facial recognition and other technologies”.
The best way to prevent the development of an epidemic is to avoid crowds. In this line, organizing an examination with several hundred candidates in one place would undoubtedly be prohibited.
France will face several big events regarding University tests next months. From April, grandes écoles in France will start their contests: Polytechnic, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Central Supélec, Mines-Ponts, Agro, Véto, etc.
The Sesame competition, which gives access to 14 business and management schools, is set for April 8, 2020. In May, the second series of PACES (first year common to health studies) will take place in most major cities in France with several thousand students gathered in examination centers. Students that are nowadays in Asia are having difficulties to return to France. Educational community must therefore find an alternative to face-to-face traditional examinations for the next period.
This crisis situation could undoubtedly accelerate the deployment of tests online, already being required by universities’ educational managers.
Nowadays most teachers offer multiple choice exams or document analyses. It is therefore quite easy to turn these types of tests in a digital and online format. As Clément Régnier, co-founder of TestWe points out:
“We can effectively replace face-to-face examination with online tests. Our solution is deployed on candidates’ personal computers. The software environment is locked during the entire test to prevent access to third-party sources. We are currently working on solutions to monitor students’ environment via their own webcam, for example, and on identification via a signature linked to the rhythm of typing on a keyboard. This can greatly limit identity theft and cheating.”
The most important asset of this technology is that it gives access to entrance exams or any type of test anywhere in the world and in a controlled way, by only requiring an internet connection (4G, fiber or ADSL).