Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ speaks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper about his resolve to make education a clean place for the nation’s youth and talented future citizens.
Many of the 222 students whose scores were altered in the 2018 national exams had parents or close relatives working in the education sector. If they are found guilty of altering the students' scores, will they be punished under the law?
In any examinations, all candidates must not cheat. I was very sad to hear the news that employees working in the education sector had been found guilty of tampering with exam results.
Such behaviour should be condemned, and they should be expelled from the education sector. As the head of the education sector, I have reprimanded authorities in those localities and told them to investigate each case and punish those responsible, including expelling them from the education sector.
The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has worked closely with the Ministry of Public Security to find the culprits and will punish them in an open, fair and transparent manner.
Students sit for an assessment exam at Việt Nam National University - HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Lý Thu Hoài
Do you think the students whose marks were altered should be expelled from their universities?
In my opinion, cheating should be handled in accordance with the law. All the students at the Public Security University have already been expelled. At civil universities, following re-checking of the students’ exams, if their marks were lower than the admittance marks, they will be expelled. However, for the case of 12 students that met the admittance marks, the investigation is ongoing. However, if any of them are found to have cheated they will be expelled immediately.
Different universities have taken different approaches to deal with the issue. In your opinion, what’s the best way to handle such cases?
Under the Vietnamese Law on Higher Education, universities are granted the right to self-govern. That’s why each university has its own right to handle these cases as they see fit; they don’t have to wait for instruction from the MoET. I support the Ministry of Public Security’s decision to let them handle their own cases.
To make sure the upcoming 2019 national high school graduation exams are safe and fair, will the MoET adopt any changes?
The high school graduation exam and tertiary education recruitment are the task of the education sector and society as a whole. What happened in the 2018 school graduation exam is a good lesson for us. In the 2019 high school graduation exam, we’ll apply IT and technical facilities to ensure tight security and safety to prevent fraudulence. We may have to update our technology, but the human factor is still the most important.
Last but not least, we need strong co-ordination from all agencies to ensure the exam takes place in a safe environment. — VNS