$6m spend to tighten security on HSC papers

NSW will spend almost $6 million dollars on around-the-clock security guards over the next two years in a bid to stop cheating students from accessing HSC exam papers.

A military-like operation is already underway in NSW distributing "non-secure" exam material such as answer booklets all over the state.

It follows several incidents over the last few years where the integrity of HSC papers was jeopardised.

Trial papers were accessed last year at Scots College and in 2015 students from Penrith Selective High School hacked into a computer system in an attempt to alter their assessment marks.

 

A number of students from Penrith Selective High School attempted to break into a computer system to alter their assessment marks. Picture: Supplied
A number of students from Penrith Selective High School attempted to break into a computer system to alter their assessment marks. Picture: Supplied

The high-stakes operation begins in October with professional security guards set to patrol 400 security centres around NSW where the top-secret exam papers are being held in metal boxes.

NSW Education Standards Authority will spend millions on security in the next two years and have paid two security companies for around-the-clock surveillance.

Jones XL Pty Ltd will receive $3.8 million while $1.7 million will be paid to SNP Security over the next two years to safeguard the integrity of the HSC.

"Exam papers are delivered to and collected from approximately 400 delivery/collection points throughout NSW, and approximately 30 interstate and overseas exam centres," procurement documents revealment.

Transport operator Toll - which has distributed the HSC in the past - would not comment on specifics for security reasons but said it offered clients "protective transport services", which included security escorts on trucks.

 

The 2018 HSC papers will be closely monitored. Picture: Supplied
The 2018 HSC papers will be closely monitored. Picture: Supplied

"This includes various levels of security for customers who require specialised handling, transport and storage of sensitive freight, which can include escorted delivery and secure transport as options," the spokesman said.

A NESA spokesman would not answer questions about security but said "tamper-proof packaging, lockable cabinets, security services and electronic tracking systems are some of the security measures used to protect different stages of the exam process."

The HSC runs from October 18 to November 9. About 70,000 students received an HSC last year.



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