Student likely to be "educated' for filming exam cheats

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A still from a secret video clip shows students openly using crib sheets in a high-school graduation exam in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Giang

"Educational" measures will probably be taken against the student who recorded clips later posted online of teachers and students cheating in a graduation exam which made headlines in Vietnam since last week.

Vietnamese regulations ban cameras being used during school exams.

A report on VnExpress Tuesday quoted Nguyen Vinh Hien, deputy education minister, as saying that the education department in the northern province of Bac Giang, where the cheating occurred, are waiting for police findings before deciding how to deal with those involved, including the apparent whistleblowers who caught the incident on film.

"It was planned that on the basis of regulations and other related factors, the department will educate the student, helping him realize what is right and wrong about his act," Hien said.

Initial information was that the 12th-grade student recorded six clips with a camera pen while he was taking the high school graduation exam at the Doi Ngo Private High School in Luc Nam District on June 2-4. The pen was provided by a former teacher of Doi Ngo who said that he wanted to collect evidence to expose corruption at the school.

However, since one of the clips was posted online on June 5, Bac Giang authorities have made it clear that while they appreciated the student's exposure, the fact that he violated regulations banning cameras from being brought into exam rooms can not be pardoned.

Tuoi Tre on Wednesday quoted Hien as saying that if the student had truly wanted to fight corruption in exam, he could have brought the clip to people in authority right after the first day of the exam, instead of delaying as he did.

Moreover, by submitting the clips to agencies one by one instead of all at once, the student and the teacher have made it difficult for authorities to handle the case, Hien said.

The official also implied that a camera pen could have hypothetically helped the student cheat during the exam, hypothesizing that because it did not have a monitor, the student turned to recording cheats around him, the newspaper reported.

When asked about the reasons for his theory, Hien said: "I did not imply anything about his motivation, but if (the camera pen) did have a monitor, it could have been used for cheating," Tuoi Tre reported.

In the meantime, the Bac Giang education department has announced that 1,638 papers of students who took the exam at Doi Ngo school will be graded under the supervision of inspectors. Inspectors will then check the papers again after they have been marked two times, independently, by two different teachers.

The exam's results had been scheduled to be released on June 18 at latest.

Earlier, after the clips were posted online, the provincial education department suspended 28 proctors who administered the exam.

The clips capture students taking exams on six subjects math, literature, English/French, chemistry, geography and history -- using crib sheets, throwing exam questions out of the rooms and receiving answers from outside with the help of supervisors.

According to the teacher, only referred as D.T.N, he has 12 clips recorded by two students. He said, however, that he will not submit the six other clips to the police to protect the other student's identity.

He said he had sent the clips to a contact in Hanoi, hoping to reveal them after the results were announced, but for some reason one of the clips was leaked earlier than planned.

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The mastermind

A report on VnExpress Tuesday revealed that the mastermind behind the exposure plan was Do Viet Khoa, a teacher who entered the national spotlight in 2006 after exposing cheats during a high school graduation exam in the northern province of Ha Tay (now part of Hanoi).

According to Khoa, 44, he devised the plan because teachers in the northern region have called him over the past two years complaining about ongoing corruption during graduation exams, despite the education ministry's campaign of "saying no to cheating in exams."

The program was launched following exposure of Khoa, who has continued exposing educational corruption, including leaders' mismanagement of Van Tao High School, where he worked between 2000 and 2010.

Khoa said he asked teachers to film clips or ask "the bravest students" to do so in three different districts in Bac Giang.

D.T.N found three students who agreed to help, but since only two cameras were available, they recorded clips in just two exam rooms, Khoa said, adding that they also assigned another person at the school gate to record what was going on outside.

He said the clips showed that cheating was rampant across Bac Giang, but he would not publish other clips taken in Viet Yen and Luc Ngan districts because the revealed clips at Doi Ngo have already impacted "hundreds of people."

"If I publish clips taken at other schools, I will have too many enemies and no place to live," said Khoa, who has been ostracized ever since his first exposure, and was even assaulted in 2008.

Asked if he considered the possibility that the involved students would be punished for violating regulations, Khoa said "the students should be praised for daring doing what they did."

In this case, the recorder was a pen which could not be used to cheat, he added.

If the students were punished, the ministry should stop the campaign, because no one will dare expose corruption, Khoa stressed.

"The ministry has so many inspectors and staff but they have not been able to take any clip for years since the campaign was launched, while a student could do it."

If Bac Giang's authorities dismissed involved officials and suspended other violators in this case, no school will commit corruption next year, Khoa reasoned.

However, if the authorities handled it lightly with warnings only, it will continue, he added.

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