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Dozens of students expelled, drop out as 2018 exam scandal fallout

April 19, 2019 | 07:43 pm PT
Dozens of students expelled, drop out as 2018 exam scandal fallout
Vietnamese students sit at the national high school exam in June 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
First year university students are being expelled or dropping out on their own as investigations reveal altered entrance exam scores.

New reports from the ministries of Public Security, and Education and Training say 108 students from two provinces, 64 from Hoa Binh and 44 from Son La, had their exam result altered.

Some of them were currently enrolled in some of Vietnam’s most prestigious universities, including the National Economics University (NEU), the Foreign Trade University (FTU) and the Hanoi Medical University (HMU).

At least 53 out of the 108 students have had to leave their universities after their actual exam scores were found failing the minimum requirements of their respective schools.

The number is not final. Universities and colleges are trying to find out if there are more students whose actual scores are lower than the schools’ requirements.

However, students with altered scores whose actual scores still met the schools’ requirements are being allowed to stay.

Last year, authorities had found that scores of at least 114 students from the northern province of Ha Giang had been altered. The scores were changed back to their original values before the 2018 school year began.

The reason why the number of students with altered scores in Hoa Binh and Son La was only recently confirmed was because of the more complex manner in which the scores were changed in these two provinces, authorities said.

During last year’s entrance exams, data were recorded in two separate CDs, with one containing the students’ answers and the other containing the scores of the students. In Ha Giang’s case, only the CDs containing the students’ scores were tampered with. In the other two provinces, data in both types of CDs were tampered with.

The latest investigation results have triggered outrage yet again among the public, with some calling for authorities to publicize the identities of the students and their parents to make an example of them. Many have said that some of the parents were high-level officials from different ministry departments and people’s committees.

"I demand we have an appropriate method to punish parents who had paid money to alter the scores of their children," National Assembly delegate Truong Trong Nghia said earlier this week.

Delegate Nguyen Thi Mai Hoa agreed that the identities of the parents can be publicized, but not the students.

"To tamper with exam scores under any method is a sign of corruption and bribery... If there are violations, perpetrators must be investigated thoroughly, no matter who, how rich or powerful they are," she said.

At least 16 officials so far have been investigated, arrested or jailed for their involvement in the exam scandal.

A string of students told VnExpress that the altering of exam scores might have deprived them of the opportunity to enter the more prestigious universities. 

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