• Kyodo, Staff Report

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Kyoto University, claiming to be the first national university to address cheating via smartwatches and similar digital devices, has announced that starting next year entrance exam takers will be banned from having watches on their desks.

The university said Thursday that the new regulations taking effect in February will ban all takers of entrance exams from using not only smartwatches, which can connect wirelessly to the Internet, but all watches and clocks when sitting their tests.

This year’s release of the wireless Apple Watch has sparked fears it could be used by some to cheat.

University officials said the move has been taken to prevent misconduct and guarantee fairness. They explained that the university decided to ban the use of all watches because it will be difficult to distinguish between smartwatches and other types.

In February 2011, one exam taker at the university posted some of the questions from its entrance exam onto the Yahoo Chiebukuro Q&A forum using his smartphone and received potential answers while taking the test.

The university plans to allocate more than ¥10 million to install radio clocks in some 120 rooms where entrance exams are held. For those who will have problems checking the time, staff overseeing the test takers will individually inform them of the time upon request.

Keio University in Tokyo was one of the first such institutions to address concerns over the misuse of smartwatches and decided in July to ban the use of clocks and watches during tests in some departments.

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