Vietnam needs to protect people who blow the whistle on corruption in the education sector, chief s tate inspector Tran Van Truyen told a National Assembly dialogue on Friday.
"Over the years, efforts by the Ministry of Education and Training have started to improve the situation somewhat, but not enough," he told press agencies before attending a National Assembly talk with Transparency International on the matter.
Truyen said fighting corruption often earned whistleblowers "pain" or "broken relationships."
"Those in disadvantageous positions will be affected negatively (by fighting corruption). I mean revenge, suppression, rejection," he said.
The Head of the State Inspectorate said there should be rules to control each specific step in education management and measures to build teachers' ethics.
Teacher and rewarded corruption fighter Viet Khoa recently quit his job at Van Tao High School in Hanoi after he was attacked at home by unidentified men and ostracised by colleagues for exposing cheating in exams.
Khoa said "I'm too tired to go ahead. I think it is time for me to step down."
Truyen said Khoa might be thinking he had suffered too much while too little progress had been made towards the common goal.
"We call for a fight against corruption, but no one dares do anything," said Truyen.
He said the main problem was that Vietnam didn't have an "adequate and clear" system to protect whistleblowers.
Vietnam has laws in place to protect those who report corruption, but Truyen said they were not enforced properly.
Swedish official says public doesn't trust education sector
Marie Ottoson, deputy head of the Swedish Embassy, said at the Friday dialogue that Vietnamese people have lost confidence in their education system, according local news website Vietnamnet.
Parents have accepted that they'll have to pay extra to get their kids into good school programs, while teachers have resolved to teaching extra classes from home in order to earn a living, Ottoson said.
She said corruption in education affects everyone, especially poor people who cannot afford the educational opportunities offered to the rich.
And when children know that they are sitting in a good class thanks to unofficial payment, they might lose their faith in the fairness and justness of their society, she said.
Such a loss of confidence is scary and serious, Ottoson added.
But she said parents shouldn't be blamed for encouraging corruption in education.
Any parent wishes for the best opportunities for their children, especially when they can afford to provide those opportunities, the deputy ambassador said.
She said surveys had found that low salaries were not the only reason for corruption in Vietnam's educational system.
Representatives from the World Bank and Denmark Embassy also attended the dialogue.