A proctor or a procurator is a person who is in charge of others’ actions. A proctor fulfills his role in three main fields; law, religion, and education. The title was and is commonly used in England and other native English speaking countries in the above mentioned three fields.
In the legal field, proctors are certified lawyers, legal practitioners, and senior government lawyers. In the field of religion, they represent the clergy in the church. In the department of higher education, a proctor is any of the university officials. In early history, proctors have always represented the colleges for any proceedings.
Few educational institutes in the US today, refer to the proctor as the supervisor of midterm and final exams.
In many institutes, the role is fulfilled by a librarian. An official will guide you in the examination hall, and keep an eye on all the students to ensure that the tests take place without any cheating.
A proctor can also be called an invigilator. The task of an invigilator is to not only supervise the examination hall but to also keep an eye on the students. Additionally, a proctor also keeps track of time and informs students of the same at regular intervals to guide their pace. For smaller examinations or quizzes, teachers themselves act as proctors; for big examinations, an official proctor is appointed.
This practice is carried out in Indian educational institutions as well. Here, for internal examinations, school/college faculty becomes the invigilator whereas for final examinations, external faculty is called for invigilation.