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Lessons from recent scandalous high school graduation exam

Update: July, 26/2018 - 09:00
Phùng Xuân Nhạ — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

Phùng Xuân Nhạ, Minister of Education and Training, speaks to Vietnam News Agency on his ministry’s resolve to maintain the principles of fairness, objectivity and transparency for future high school graduation exams.

As leader of the Ministry of Education and Training, what’s responsibility does your ministry hold for the recent national high school exam cheating scandal?

We will give due punishment to any organisations or individuals who were involved in the manipulation of the recent national high school tests.

Regarding the cases of the northern provinces of Hà Giang and Sơn La, upon learning about the case we decided to send an investigation team to the two provinces to find the truth.

Very quickly, in a few days, the team came up with their conclusion which has brought justice to students and society as a whole. The final conclusion on the manipulation of the school tests in Hà Giang and Sơn La Provinces is a vivid demonstration of the Ministry of Education and Training’s (MOET) resolve to hold high the national examination regulations and the law.

In Hà Giang Province, the police have began criminal proceedings against government officials who were accused of involvement in the manipulation of the school tests.

Meanwhile, the MOET has also decided to dismiss all educational officials who were directly involved in the exam cheating scandal.

What were the main factors leading to the cheating scandal?

Procedures on marking the tests have been improved considerably. We may have very good techniques or procedures, but the human factor remains the most important one.

In the exam preparation course, the MOET has organised many training courses for people who involved before the exams, during the exams and after the exams.

However, following the cases in both Hà Giang and Sơn La, the MOET will have to review carefully all final graduation exam procedures so this will not happen again.

Do you think the MOET should re-consider the procedures on the organisation and marking of the national school graduation exams nationwide?

Our decision to organise the national school graduation exams in all provinces is the right decision as it has offered better conditions for the students and cut financial costs for society. This has been testified and proven correct in the previous years’ exams.

Previously during the university entrance exams, many parents faced quite a lot of challenges in taking their children to the examination sites which were far from their home. For poor parents, such a travelling cost became a big burden. This was a driving force for us to change examination sites and our decision has won high approval from society.

Besides, in the past two years, most of the tests were in the form of multiple choices and the examinations took place in an orderly manner.

And this year, the same procedures were applied. But problems were detected in the process of paper marking in some localities. With lessons learned from this year, the MOET will have to review the whole procedures ranging from organising the exams, marking of the paper tests and keeping the answer sheets in a safe place.

Has the MOET thought about how to avoid this incident occurring again?

We have already issued an official document asking all Examination Boards in all provinces and the five municipal cities (Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Nẵng, Cần Thơ and Hải Phòng) to immediately review their examination procedures, ranging from the test organisation, supervisors and test markers.

In the next few days the MOET will organise a review meeting to assess the just concluded school examination test to draw lessons.

In addition, the MOET will do its best to improve the quality of the test to ensure that it will satisfy the two requirements: to grant graduation certificates to students who have passed the exam and to serve as a foundation for the students to enroll in universities/colleges of their choice.

Of course, a very important mission that we want to achieve is to complete the test paper marking (including the software in the test marking). In other words, the ultimate goal is to ensure integrity and objectivity of the test results.

Last but not least, we vow to uphold the law and to give due punishment to violators. — VNS





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