Obec probes exam entrants, possible cheating

national April 21, 2014 00:00

By Supinda na Mahachai
The Natio

The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) will look into why a school director and two teachers allegedly sat a recruitment exam for the posts of assistant teachers on Saturday.

Their participation in the exam has raised eyebrows and suspicion about exam cheating. 
“We are getting suspicious. Why would a school director or a teacher want to attend such an exam?” caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said yesterday.
Chaturon said Pitak Supalert, director of Ban Nong Sai School in Buri Ram; Chumpon Supalert, a teacher at Muangfakpittayakhom School in Buri Ram; and another teacher, Siriporn Kijkuakoon, attended the recruitment exam for the post of assistant teachers this year. Pitak is Chumpon’s elder brother. 
The exam was held on Saturday and yesterday. 
For a reason that remains unclear as of press time, Pitak, Supalert and Siriporn sat the test on Saturday but did not show up for the test yesterday. 
Competition for the posts of assistant teachers is high. Tens of thousands of applicants attend the recruitment exam, while there are just 1,888 vacancies. 
Last year, the recruitment exam caught the media limelight after evidence emerged that some officials demanded a lump sum of money for exam-cheating services for those hoping to become assistant teachers. 
In the wake of the scandal, authorities have strictly implemented measures to prevent the cheating. 
Obec secretary-general Apichart Jeerawuth said overall, there had been no reports of alleged cheating this year. 
However, he said he had ordered educational service area offices to submit reports on why a school director and two teachers sat the recruitment exams for the posts of assistant teachers. 
“We will look into the explanation before deciding whether we should set up a fact-finding committee,” Apichart said. 
Chaturon said given that Pitak, Chumpon and Siriporn Kijkuakoon apparently would not take the posts of assistant teachers, they must have had some other purposes. 
“From a bright side, they may simply have wanted to test their knowledge. But we can’t ignore this case because we need to ensure a transparent recruitment exam,” he said. 
The recruitment exam is apparently important to many people. 
According to Apichart, one heavily-pregnant applicant sat the exam in Trat yesterday even as she went into labour.
“She managed to finish the exam before exam committee members there rushed her to a nearby hospital,” Apichart said.

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