The Education Ministry has asked the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to probe possible widespread cheating in an examination to recruit 2,000 teaching assistants last month.
Sermsak Pongpanich, deputy education minister, said he has asked the DSI to probe the Jan 13 test on the recommendation of a committee which suggested the exam was plagued by cheats.
The panel, set up to look into cheating complaints, found the test paper was leaked a day in advance.
It also discovered that many exam participants had used electronic devices to receive answers for the test paper and, in some cases, proxies had been paid to sit in for some applicants.
Mr Sermsak said the test was organised by the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) and all the applicants were education officials seeking a teaching assistant job.
He said in one case the committee found that a name of an applicant appeared at two different test centres, one in Khon Kaen and the other in Si Sa Ket.
"The nature of the cheats seems to be similar to those in the national police exam for new recruits last year. I believe some Obec officials must be involved," he said. Severe punitive actions would be taken against those found to have committed wrongdoing, he added.
He said ministry has sent the committee's report to the DSI for further investigation.
The exam result would be scrapped if the DSI confirmed wrongdoing was committed even though all the new recruits have since been given teaching jobs.
Mr Sermsak said stringent measures would be imposed for the new round of exams for teaching assistants in April.
"I think Obec should not design and deliver the exam papers alone. Other agencies such as universities should be allowed to participate," he said.
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- Writer: Lamphai Intathep