The Education Ministry will likely be asked to annul the recruitment exam results of 2,000 assistant teachers nationwide after the Department of Special Investigation found evidence of cheating.
DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the department is investigating the matter at the request of Deputy Education Minister Sermsak Pongpanit. Initial findings justify recommending that the examination results be scrapped, he said.
Thanin Prempree, director of the DSI's corruption prevention and suppression centre, said investigators uncovered negligence in how exam papers were stored and delivered.
They also found answers had been revealed before exams took place, while other answers had been sent to candidates electronically. Some people also sat the exam on behalf of others, Mr Thanin said.
He said DSI officials would investigate further and would forward the findings to the Education Ministry within 15 days.
However, the decision on whether to scrap the exam results lies with the ministry.
The ministry might consider nullifying the results of the exam only in certain areas where cheating was proven, he said.
However, he said, if it was later found by the DSI that exam cheating occurred in all regions, it could be surmised that the fraud was well planned and implemented by a large gang, similar to a previous scam detected in the police entrance exam.
The DSI will next week summon seven directors of schools in the Northeast for questioning, Mr Thanin said.
A Justice Ministry source said three cheating methods had been detected.
One was to have people pose as applicants and sit the exam so they could leak the answers to real applicants via electronic communications.
Another was to leak exam papers and answers to applicants ahead of the exam day, and the third method was to have imposters sit the exams.
The DSI found about 500 entrants _ a quarter of them _ were involved in the exam fraud, the source said.
The cost of exam cheating services ranged from 200,000 baht to 300,000 baht per person, said the source.
In a bid to prevent fraud in past teacher recruitment exams, the exam papers were sent by email to the committees responsible for handling them only one day before the exam date.
But this time, the source said, the exam papers were sent to the committees by mail, and they were received two to three days before the day of the exam.