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UK watchdog finds students 'unfairly' deported over English test scam

UK watchdog finds students unfairly deported over English test scam
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The country's National Audit Office (NAO), which had launched its investigation last month into widespread claims that many students were wrongly accused of cheating, in its findings said that the UK Home Office had not taken enough care to ensure innocent applicants were not caught up in a crackdown launched following evidence of fraud in the system.

London: The country's National Audit Office (NAO), which had launched its investigation last month into widespread claims that many students were wrongly accused of cheating, in its findings said that the UK Home Office had not taken enough care to ensure innocent applicants were not caught up in a crackdown launched following evidence of fraud in the system. "Clearly widespread cheating did take place but some people may have been wrongly accused and in some cases, unfairly removed from the UK," the NAO report concluded.

In February 2014, BBC's 'Panorama' investigation uncovered evidence of organised cheating in two English language test centres run on behalf of the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This included providing English-speakers to take speaking tests instead of the real candidates and staff reading out multiple choice answers for other tests. The UK Home Office responded vigorously, investigating colleges, test centres and students.

"When the Home Office acted vigorously to exclude individuals and shut down colleges involved in the English language test cheating scandal, we think they should have taken an equally vigorous approach to protecting those who did not cheat but who were still caught up in the process, however small a proportion they might be. This did not happen," said Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO.

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