Whistleblowers disappointed with weak follow-up on exam scam

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Students copy answers from crib sheets at the Doi Ngo Private High School in Bac Giang Province at the national high school graduation exams in early June.

Education authorities from the northern province of Bac Giang have decided to punish 42 officials and teachers involved in an exam cheating scandal exposed in June.

A representative from the Bac Giang education department told Thanh Nien on Saturday it will remove Nguyen Duc Don from his position as principal of Ly Thuong Kiet High School and Dao Van Moc from Doi Ngo Private High School.

Don and Moc were chief and deputy chief supervisors at Doi Ngo School during the three-day high school graduation exam ending June 4, where 12 videos taken by two students from two different exam rooms showed cheating in all six subjects of the exam - Math, Literature, English, Chemistry, Geography and History.

Six teachers and employees at Doi Ngo will be dismissed as they were found directly assisting in the cheating, by taking exam questions out of the rooms, answering them, making different copies of the answers and delivering them to the students.

Other teachers from the two schools and three other public high schools in the province will be reprimanded officially letting the cheating happen.

Though cheating on tests for all six major subjects was revealed on the Internet by the videos from two exam rooms, the inspection's official report only mentioned Math and Chemistry sessions from one room.

It said the cheating was "well-planned" and "well-organized."

But two teachers who released the videos have expressed their disappointment after the province education inspectors proposed the punishments in June. They said these are just token punishments, and that the school leaders should be sacked instead of the teachers who just followed orders.

Nguyen Danh Ngoc, a Doi Ngo teacher who directly organized the filming and released the videos on the Internet, told news website VietNamNet in a June 19 report he is "disappointed and sad" that the authorities "deliberately hushed up the problem."

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Ngoc said the department had not contacted him for the videos but waited for him to submit them.

Do Viet Khoa, a Hanoi-based teacher of Geography, said he had arranged similar filming at two other public schools, but he only had the videos at the private one released to check the authorities' responses.

But now that only teachers would be sacked, and not the higher ups actually responsible, he would not release the other videos, he said.

Khoa had fought exam cheating earlier in Ha Tay Province, now a part of Hanoi, in 2006, forcing the government to immediately launch campaigns for stricter exam conditions that brought schools' graduation rates down from the 99 and 100 percent recorded previously.

This year, the national rate is 97.63 percent, up from 67.5 percent in 2007.

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