Monday, July 17, 2006

Tens of thousands of students in Vietnam are taking their college entrance exams in the midst of a debate over the level of cheating

Bill Hayton:

Newspapers have printed dozens of examples of dishonesty, and police have uncovered sophisticated networks.

One teacher even went as far as videoing his own pupils to expose their activities.

Stung by criticism, the government has denounced cheating as a disease and announced action to tackle the problem.

But the pressures to cheat - ranging from parental expectations to the system of awarding scholarships to top students - remain strong.

Last month Do Viet Khoa was an ordinary school teacher in a small town south of the capital.

But then national television broadcast his video of students cheating in their high school graduation exams and eventually, after some delay and embarrassment, he was hailed as a hero by the minister of education.

There is almost an epidemic of cheating in Vietnam. In one province, which announced a 99% pass rate, mobs of students were filmed throwing answer sheets over school walls.

The government has since disciplined eight officials.

In the most sophisticated scam yet discovered, police rounded up a gang using long wigs and mobile phone earpieces to pass on answers to students in university entrance exams.

Educationalists say the problem of cheating is exacerbated by Vietnam's system of learning, which requires students to memorise huge quantities of facts and repeat them in the exam.

At the moment the desire of students to use almost any means to do well seems greater than the ability of education authorities to stop them.

Teacher Who Videotaped Cheating Gets Award and Threats

'Wigged Out' Students Caught Cheating

Asia's classroom cheats


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