Modern Exams sans Hall Ticket

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History and Purpose of Current Hall Tickets

  1. Photo Identity availability for physical verification
  2. Signature matching
  3. Subject, Class, Name, Exam Roll Number identification for post processing of answer sheets

Error, Fraud and Mitigation

  1. Coercion of Invigilation team to allow for malpractice - outside scope here
  2. Candidate substitution with or without disguise / makeup
  3. Switching Photo in Hall Ticket
  4. Wrong entry of Subject, Class, Name, Roll Number partly mitigated by:
    • Invigilation care
    • Barcoded / QRCoded stickers
    • Digital auto dummy numbering

Existing Automated Hall Ticket Systems

  1. Online Hall Ticket Application and PDF hall ticket by eMail or inline in browser
  2. Manual Hall Ticket Application and physical copy mass printed and sent by physical postal mail
  3. SMS / EMail / WhatsApp type based sending of Hall Ticket details

Pros and Cons

  • Simple but manual data collimation and human interface elements management and costs
  • Time consuming
  • Need for intimation by Advertisement / Web notifications
  • If no link between data centre and Invigilator, then all frauds above can prevail

Leapfrogging the Technology Generation Gap

With the advent of computers, servers, networking and the internet, modern systems to replace the Hall Ticket is the need of the hour.

Biometric based Aadhar is available for Govt Attendance systems, Govt subsidy schemes, PAN card, etc. In some cases, by end user consent, banks use it for eKYC and eCommerce sites for ID verification.

Non Aadhar use of Biometric information is in use in several access controlled areas like security access doors, etc. This is sometimes used with some barcoded or java chip assisted ID numbering or manually keyed in Serial Number like in some simpler biometric attendance systems.

Proposed Modern System

  1. A restricted localised protected online application form is filled out by the candidate in a set of kiosks. It will automatically capture Photo and signature using accessories like camera, touch pad and biometric sensor (fingerprint / retina).
  2. Alternatively, a normal unrestricted web application form with no security feature at all where Photo and signature alone with text data like Name, Purpose (Subject, Class, optional Venue, etc) are captured and sent unsecurely to a central webserver which uses the data and generates it as a pre-printed and pre-filled application form in PDF (no illegibility) sporting an encoded BarCode which is manually signed. Here the biometric data is appended to the DB record through a separate secure process.
  3. An email / SMS is autogenerated by the system just as a confirmation along with venue address and date.
  4. Come the time for the examination, no physical Hall Ticket is necessary. The biometric data (physically present encrypted where no internet connection is possible) is made available on LAN (and through internet where available) to the invigilator. The biometric sensor captures the candidate's fingerprint and matches it in the subset available for the venue for that date from the info available in the previous step
  5. A dummy number is generated / allotted to the candidate on verification and the exam can now be conducted with appropriate ID tagging using it.

Biometric Data Storage / Mitigation

The advent of strict data privacy rules in the country and the world at large requires that stringent and dependable technologies / manpower be leveraged. This will entail expensive costs and constant vigilance, the legal ramifications being quite high.

If Aadhar is going to be used for Biometric Verification, then the issue of storing sensitive biometric data does not arise.

If standalone Biometric information is needed to be stored in the examination servers, then the actual graphical images of the fingerprints must not be stored. An encrypted hash of selected points on the fingerprint may be stored as a big one way passcode to be used by looking it up along with the relevant roll number / token equivalent. This can be shipped out for offline use as well without having to store and use the actual fingerprint images per se.

Hardware / Software / Sensors

Most modern smartphones and laptops have fingerprint scanner builtin or as an addon device and they are inexpensive. The above method will have the feedback loop closed to prevent all avoidable frauds with a proper audit trail as well.

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