• France's news in English
 

Daughter sends in mum to take vital English exam

Published: 20 Jun 2013 11:17 GMT+02:00

With the arrival of this year’s ‘Bac’ – France’s crucial, pre-university Bacchalauréat exams – education authorities have vowed to combat test cheats harder than ever before.

Electronic smartphone detectors are among a raft of tools available in the fight against academic dishonesty, but common sense and a keen eye thwarted one outrageous cheating effort in a lycée in Paris on Wednesday.

A 52-year-old woman, named only as Caroline D., impersonated her 19-year-old daughter Laetitia and attempted to sit her English exam for her at the Lycée Bossuet-Notre Dame in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, according to French daily Le Parisien.

Dressed in Converse shoes, low-waisted jeans, and covered in elaborate make-up, the helpful mother managed to enter the exam hall and take her place among the ranks of young scholars, at around 2pm.

Caroline launched into the three-hour composition test, but her audacious deceit didn’t last long.

An exam supervisor who had been in charge when Laetitia herself – who is not an enrolled student at the school – sat a philosophy test on Monday, quickly figured out the chicanery.

Rather than interrupt Caroline’s efforts, however, the mother-in-disguise was allowed to keep writing for two hours, while school officials notified local police.

“An intervention during the exam could have disturbed the other candidates, and turned into a reason to cancel the test for everyone,” a representative from the lycée told Le Parisien.

According to another staff-member, four plainclothes police officers arrived at the school, and an exam supervisor discreetly escorted Caroline from the hall.

“The 20 or so other candidates definitely didn’t notice anything,” he added.

For her part, the mother admitted to having cheated, in a blatant effort to improve her daughter’s performance in the English exam.

She faces legal repercussions, while her daughter risks the hefty punishment of being banned from taking all official exams for a period of five years.

This week’s incident came amid controversial new initiatives by France’s education ministry, aimed at catching more exam cheats, and increasing punishments.

In May, Daniel Roben from the teaching union SNES, told The Local: “Over the last few years there have been many incidents of cheating, and for us it is unacceptable.”

“Exams are designed to give an equal chance to all pupils, so anything which acts against that equality should be punished severely,” he added.

Authorities want to strengthen the punishments handed out, the harshest of which is a five year ban before a pupil can retake the baccalaureate exam. This penalty was slapped on 140 pupils last year, compared to 67 in 2011.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France rules to fine those encouraging anorexia
Anorexia nervosa is a chronic illness that affects 1 percent of people. Photo: AFP

France rules to fine those encouraging anorexia

Inciting people to extreme thinness could be punishable by a year in prison and a fine of €10,000 ($11,000) in France after MPs voted on Thursday to take aim at "pro-anorexia" websites. READ  

French drivers getting worse, says new report
Photo: Shutterstock

French drivers getting worse, says new report

The reputation of French drivers is hardly positive among foreigners and a report published on Thursday suggests it’s unlikely to improve anytime soon, with drivers reportedly less and less respectful of the rules of the road. READ  

Three killed in massive French Alps avalanche
A rescue team on the scene in the French Alps. Photo: AFP

Three killed in massive French Alps avalanche

UPDATED: Three people died and one was left in a critical condition after a "spectacular" avalanche engulfed a group of ten foreign skiers in the French Alps on Wednesday. READ  

France allows UberPop to roll on... for now
Taxi drivers protest in Paris against Uber. Photo: AFP

France allows UberPop to roll on... for now

UberPop, the low-cost car sharing service from Uber has been given a stay of execution in France after an appeals court put back a decision on whether to ban the smartphone app until September. It comes as Uber says it has filed complaints with the EU against France, Germany and Spain. READ  

French schools scandal
Scandal of paedophile teachers shocks France
Photo: AFP

Scandal of paedophile teachers shocks France

France’s education minister promised a thorough investigation on Wednesday into "systematic failures” after it emerged that numerous teachers were employed to work in schools despite having previous convictions for paedophilia. READ  

Smoking in Paris
Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

As Parisians continue to ignore laws that ban smoking inside closed off cafe terraces, the Town Hall has sent a reminder to police that they shouldn't hesitate to crack down on both the smokers and the cafe owners not abiding by the rules. READ  

Young French women turn to 'le binge drinking'
Binge drinking is becoming all the more common in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Young French women turn to 'le binge drinking'

More and more young French people are turning to binge-drinking, especially teenage girls, as the Anglo Saxon habit continues to be adopted by the youth of France. The country's health minister has vowed to tackle the issue. READ  

Drone porn!? The best April Fools from France
The departure board in Lille. Photo: SylvieBRawlings/Twitter

Drone porn!? The best April Fools from France

France joined in on the fun of April Fools' on Wednesday, with everything from news about giraffe yoghurt to train journeys to Sydney from northern France. Here's a selection of our favourites from France and the rest of The Local Europe. READ  

France set to keep ban on gay men giving blood
Photo: Donate.

France set to keep ban on gay men giving blood

France's national ethics committee has recommended that the country upholds the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, stating that more research is needed before any changes are made to the law. Gay rights groups have reacted furiously. READ  

Alps plane crash video 'must' be given to police
A video has reportedly emerged showing the final moments of the doomed Germanwings flight. Archive Photo: AFP

Alps plane crash video 'must' be given to police

Prosecutors investigating the crash of a Germanwings plane in the French Alps have demanded that a video purportedly showing the final moments of the flight inside the cabin must be handed over to investigators. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
France's 'winter truce' has been called off, but what exactly is it?
National
April Fool's: Trains to Sydney, drone porn, noisy tourist bans...
National
What's on in France: Ten things to do in April
National
Paris bistros crack down on loud tourists. Surely it's an April Fools
National
The key reforms of France's healthcare bill
National
Here's the place to get the best baguettes in Paris
More French pensioners head abroad to settle
Is it possible to make the most of fine food in Paris on a student budget?
Travel
Everything (well 12 things) you didn't know about the Eiffel Tower
Who were the winners and losers in France's local elections?
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
Paris: France mulls lifting ban on casinos
Does low cost mean low safety? Questions after Germanwings crash
Gallery
IN PICTURES: A timeline of the Alps plane crash
National
Where in La Belle France do British expats avoid?
National
IN PICTURES: 'Tide of the century' draws tens of thousands
National
Paris ends smog-fighting restrictions as the air finally clears
National
The main mistakes made by French property buyers
National
International French Language day: But what does the future hold?
National
IN PICTURES: What went on behind the clouds during Friday's eclipse
National
French food porn: What is the Gallic grub that goes viral the most?
Culture
France treated to rare Northern Lights show
Politics
Shady candidates undermine French far-right's election bid once again
Politics
French minister takes a swipe at overuse of Franglais in workplace
French gastronomy set for global charm offensive
French newspaper stuns readers with porn film pics on front page
Sport
The reasons why Zlatan Ibrahimovic might really think France is s**t
National
France could soon ban skinny models from catwalks
Health
Is France's much-envied health care system under threat?
National
There are jobs in France where you don't need to speak French
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Education
Paris universities on the up in new rankings
Sport
We meet one of the most entertaining footballers in France
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Features
Forget Paris. Is Bordeaux the best place to live in France?
Travel
Runaway plane mows down skier on the slopes of French Alps
Society
Friday 13th: A look at France's superstitions
Culture
France is ready to end its stubborn resistance to the English language
Features
'Hedgehog' and other words that French people simply can't say
Society
The worst 'nightmares' of living in France (written by a Frenchman)
Health
French hospitals crisis: 'It's like the UK under Margaret Thatcher'
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in France
VIDEO: Footage emerges of the moment two helicopters collided
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Helicopter crash kills 10, including French sports stars
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se