Fighting Against Fraud Is a Breakthrough, Says Education Minister

Education Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan.

At his first official press conference since appointed two months ago, Education Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan spoke to reporters in Ha Noi Thursday about bribery scandals, education reforms, and the ministry’s “Say no to education fraud” campaign. Despite problems, the minister hails recent reform progress as a “breakthrough.”
Reporter: Newspapers have recently reported school bribery scams in Ho Chi Minh city. Could you give us your point of views and the possible solutions to prevent future wrongdoings?

Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan: As far as I know, the Ho Chi Minh City authority has inspected the bribery-related schools and will announce the inspection conclusion by September 1.

The ministry has not intervened in the scandal yet because I believe the city’s education department can tackle it. The ministry will show up if it is necessary.

A large number of teachers and students have blown the whistle on education crimes on the heels of the campaign “Say no to cheating in exams”. How do you feel about this response?

Some were worried that if we stirred people to say the truth then people would use the campaign to smear rivals. Some denounced the fraud objectively and some revealed the truth for personal reasons. I believe local authorities and educators can investigate and discover whose claims are just and whose have ulterior motives.

Some people have asked whether we can run the campaign to the finish. I must affirm that the campaign against cheating in exams was mounted not only by the minister, but by the whole staff.

Cheating in exams due to unrealistic goals began a long time ago. We decided to launch the campaign because it is high time to make deep changes in our education system.

Pupil review their exam before high school final. (Photo: T.C)

Is fighting against fraud in exams the most difficult task among the schools?

It is not the hardest problem. The hardest is how to increase the salary for teachers, which the ministry has not been able to solve yet.

The war against educational deceits is regarded as a breakthrough in education reform.
The educational still has many unresolved issues: building more classrooms, enhancing professional qualifications for schoolteachers, to name a few.

Educators struggle with the hard task of establishing an educational system in a country with per capita income of less than US$1,000 while we demand our education standards to be on par with that of a US$20,000 per capita income country.

The education ministry has made a comparison between scores on university entrance exams and high school final graduation exams to find out who cheated. Will the findings be made public?

The ministry sent the data of scores to provinces so that they could make an evaluation and comparison. The ministry will hand over a list of schools involved in highly suspected fraud cases to local authotrities.

There is a link between the scores in university entrance exams and high school graduations, however, we should be flexible about the score disparity.  Local authorities and educators will have to asses the cases on their own.

By Dinh Lan - Translated by Van Hanh

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