DSI blames storage, delivery of test papers
Investigators believe that the reported cheating at an examination for assistant teachers could be blamed on the process of storing and delivering test papers.
According to initial investigation by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), test-takers allegedly cheated using three methods: answers were provided to examinees via electronic tools; they were provided with answers before entering the examination hall; or they got other people to take the test on their behalf.
Thanin Prempree, director of DSI's corruption prevention and suppression centre, said yesterday that the investigation team was going to the Northeast to interrogate more witnesses because the highest number of cheating cases were reported there.
A source from the Justice Ministry said the DSI and the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission had released a blacklist of people involved in cheating at previous civil-servant examinations. Most of the people on the blacklist are those who have excellent academic records, are suspected of taking exams on behalf of someone else or those suspected of providing test answers to some tutors near Ramkhamhaeng University.
The source added that normally test-takers are not allowed to carry any electronics devices to the exam venue. They usually have to go through a metal detector, get their shoes checked and cannot use their mobile phones as the signal is cut off. However, this time the mobile-phone signal was not disabled and the invigilators were not storing the test papers properly.
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said his agency was planning to propose that the Education Ministry invalidate the exam results.
However, Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said yesterday that he would deal with different areas separately, so that areas where there was no cheating do not get treated as problematic zones.
Chinnapat Bhumirat, secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commission, meanwhile, insisted that all invigilators had been told to follow regulations strictly to prevent cheating. Also, he said, test papers were delivered using the same system as ballot papers as it was the most secure method.
According to the Education Ministry, cheats reportedly paid up to Bt500,000 to a cheating gang, even though an assistant teachers' salary is about Bt9,000 a month.