Assistant Teacher Exam
Deputy Minister suspects papers were leaked
486 test-takers got full or near full marks; DSI to conclude its investigation on March 18Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanich suspects assistant teacher exam papers were leaked after 486 test-takers in 60 provinces received a full score or a nearly full score.
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is probing the suspected exam corruption and will conclude its investigation on March 18.
Some test-takers reportedly paid Bt200,000-Bt300,000 to gangs to help them cheat in the test. They were hoping to be recruited for jobs with starting salaries of only Bt9,000 a month, but were a stepping stone to permanent positions in the civil service.
The exam was to recruit 2,000 assistant teachers and the result that 486 test-takers had full scores raised suspicions of a possible exam-paper leak.
Sermsak said he would wait for the DSI probe result before deciding whether to scrap the controversial exam and hold a new one. He said he would also propose the Office of Teacher Civil Service and Educational Personnel Commission (OTEPC) postpone its teacher recruitment, originally slated for March 13, until the end of March when they had results of the investigation.
He also affirmed that if ministry executives were involved in this alleged corruption they would face punishment and the guilty test-takers would be revoked from recruitment immediately. Assistant teacher exams in the future might be held in educational regions rather than the current practice of centralised exam administration, Sermsak added.
DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said that the DSI probe, as requested by Sermsak, had found grounds for exam cheating and would send the probe result to the Education Ministry on March 18. He said that DSI wanted to determine if the cheating had taken place in the Northeast or nationwide, as that would help the ministry to consider whether to scrap the exam only in some areas or nationwide. Holding an exam is costly.
Thanin Prempree, director of DSI's corruption prevention and suppression centre, said the initial probe found the exam cheating was done in three ways; getting others to take the exam instead of the real candidates, copying answers before taking the test, or bringing a communication device to get answers while taking the test. The DSI would have to wait for the Education Ministry's request to the Special Case Committee of the DSI to officially take up the case, he added.