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70 'ghostwriters' sit English exam

Shanghai Daily, December 23, 2014 Adjust font size:

Seventy people from Shanghai are likely to be banned from sitting a national English-language proficiency examination for 12 months after recruiting "ghostwriters" to take the test on their behalf.

The imposters were identified by invigilators — aided by police — during the latest round of Band 4 and Band 6 College English Tests (CET) at 16 schools and universities, Xinmin Evening News reported.

Neither police nor the city's education commission were willing to comment on the matter, though national examination rules state that anyone found guilty of recruiting a ghostwriter will face a one to three-year ban on sitting further tests.

Though all exam entrants are required to provide "proof" of their identity, there are no laws covering the use of fake ID cards for such a purpose.

The 70 ghostwriters, therefore, will not be charged with any crime. However, exam rules state that anyone found guilty of cheating will have the matter reported to their employer, along with a recommended punishment.

Many university students sit the CET as a reasonable proficiency in English is a requirement of their curricula.

For others, such as migrant workers, an exam pass can be used to support a residency application.

However, with the introduction of specialized curricula, such as IELTS and TOEFL, the validity of the CET is under question.

According to Shanghai-based foreign language training website, the CET is flawed on two counts.

"Employers looking for people with English skills require a higher level of proficiency than is evidenced by passing the CET Band 6," an unnamed employee told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

"But if English is not a requirement, people needn't bother taking a proficiency test at all," the person said.

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