07/12/2006, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Rigged exams, answers via cellphone for money

by JB. VU
Answers were sent from the examination hall itself. Education Ministry imposes disciplinary measures on teachers. Some scholars complain that the education system is going through a "serious moral crisis".

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Two nation-wide state-sponsored exams held on July 3-5 and July 9-10 involving three million students saw widespread cheating and corruption. Unidentified individuals sent answers via cellular phone for a fee to candidates. To make matter worse, text messages were sent from the examination hall itself with the result that the Education Ministry imposed disciplinary measures on teachers.

A university professor told AsiaNews that "these regrettable incidents" are due to the growing competitive nature of Vietnamese society. "Consumerism and the lack of true values about life," he explained, "are pushing people to seek better social status and more material goods."

For instance, at Hai Phong University one student used his cellphone to pass the Vietnamese literature exam. "The same happened at Polytechnical Institute and in the Social sciences and Humanities Faculty."

Another professor at the state university, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that rigged exams must be seen against the backdrop "of the moral crisis that is affecting the education system."

Vietnam has invested massively in education if average personal incomes and the country's domestic product are taken as a comparative measure. However, only 40 per cent goes into brick and mortar, textbooks and salaries, the rest is lost in graft among officials.

In 2005 the government devoted 8.3 per cent of its GDP to education compared to 7.2 for the United States.

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