Exam fraud mastermind jailed for abuse of power

By Hoang Phuong, Pham Du   May 21, 2020 | 03:15 am PT
Exam fraud mastermind jailed for abuse of power
Nguyen Quang Vinh, former head of the testing and quality assurance unit under Hoa Binh Province's Department of Education, at the Hoa Binh People's Court, May 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du.
A provincial court sentenced four people to between five and 10 years in prison Thursday over the 2018 national high school exam fraud.

The Hoa Binh People’s Court also handed down punishments ranging from suspended sentences to three years imprisonment to 11 other people involved in the case.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, former head of the testing and quality assurance unit under Hoa Binh's Department of Education, got eight years in jail. Khuong Ngoc Chat, former head of the internal political security division under the provincial Department of Public Security, got six years, while Nguyen Khac Tuan, former staff of the testing unit, was sentenced to five years.

All of them were found guilty of abuse of power.

Do Manh Tuan, former vice principal of a boarding school for ethnic minorities in Lac Thuy District, was sentenced to 10 years. He was found guilty of the additional charge of accepting bribes.

Vinh, said to be the mastermind, instructed Do Manh Tuan to increase the 2018 national high school graduation exam scores for several students from the northern province. The duo agreed to raise the scores directly on the exam papers before scanning the results and sending them to the Ministry of Education and Training.

Vinh prepared keys to the room where the exam papers were scored for Do Manh Tuan and Nguyen Khac Tuan to mark the scores directly. In total, 145 multiple-choice exam papers and 20 literature exam papers had their results altered.

Khuong Ngoc Chat did not admit he was guilty, saying he had only asked to see the exam results. But Manh Tuan’s confession indicated that he and Chat discussed the case even before the examination took place. Chat was the one who instigated Manh Tuan to increase the exam scores, the prosecutors told the court.

The exam scandal, which spanned the three northern provinces of Hoa Binh, Ha Giang and Son La, has seen numerous officials in the three localities arrested or disciplined for their involvement.

Over 200 students in the three provinces had had their results altered in the high school exam, considered one of the most important events in a student’s academic career, setting the stage for higher education and successful careers.

Another trial over the exam fraud case, this one in Son La, began Thursday with 12 defendants. The trial is expected to last for a week.

Last November, the Ha Giang trial saw five senior education officials in the province sentenced to between one and eight years in prison for abusing their power.

After the fraud was exposed dozens of students dropped out from top universities and some were expelled after their scores were corrected.

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