Baccalaureate exam: Deputy school inspector in Arad detained

He is suspected of bribe taking. Another school inspector and a Romanian teacher are under investigation in connection with the same case.

No sooner did the Baccalaureate examinations start than corruption cases have been tied to the exam. Mihai Spanu, deputy school inspector general in Arad, was detained late Sunday on suspicion of influence peddling, while another school inspector and a teacher suspected of receiving money in exchange for helping exam candidates pass will be investigated without incarceration in connection with the same case.
According to investigators, Mihai Spanu, school inspector Simona Crisnic, and teacher Lavinia Bit allegedly received between EUR 300 and EUR 500 from pupils in exchange for helping them pass the Baccalaureate exam. Searches carried out at the suspects’ residences revealed approximately EUR 10,000 and several lists of pupils who had presumably paid in order to get a passing grade in the exam, the sources said. As part of the investigation, undercover detectives posing as parents told the three teachers that they wanted to make sure their children would pass all the tests. However, investigators say the scope of the investigation will be extended as there is information that other teachers are involved in this network, acting as middle-men between parents and the school inspectors. The prosecutor in charge, Codrin Gavra, stated that investigations into this case were initiated following a denouncement, and SRI has supported the enquiry. The prosecutors in charge of the corruption case also claim the test papers of the pupils who presumably bribed their way into the exam were to be filled in correctly by the teachers after the wrong answers were erased.
According to prosecutor Gavra, the investigators confiscated notes marked by the pupils to be included on the examination sheets and special erasable-text writing tools during the searches.
Remus Pricopie, Minister of Education, announced yesterday that the deputy school inspector was dismissed and an administrative decision could be made in the case of the other school inspector and the teacher by the Board of Directors of the Arad County School Inspectorate.
Also yesterday, the principal of the ‘Iuliu Maniu’ Technological High School in Arad said the Romanian teacher under investigation, Lavinia Bit, had been working there for eight years and was ‘very demanding’ of students, many of whom did not pass her subject.
The first test of the Baccalaureate exam was held yesterday in Romanian Language and Literature. According to data released by the Ministry of Education, 143,968 pupils are expected to take part in this test, of whom 129,827 graduate this year and 14,141 graduated in previous years.
Searches in connection with possible National Tests fraud in Targu-Jiu
Prosecutors searched the ‘Alexandru Stefulescu’ School No.4 in Targu-Jiu yesterday on suspicion of fraud committed in the National Tests sat by eighth-grade pupils. The infractions were allegedly committed in the grading process after the submission of challenges, judicial sources claim. Multiple teachers were taken to headquarters for interrogation. The final results of the National Tests will be made public today.
PM Ponta: I am not considering replacing the Education minister
Prime Minister Victor Ponta said yesterday in Orastie that he has no intention of replacing Education Minister Remus Pricopie, who is currently busy organizing the ongoing national Baccalaureate examination. “Sources say various things; what I’m interested in is the national tests [for eighth-graders completing elementary school] and the Baccalaureate.
Some things were good and others less good. I don’t wish to comment on the matter before exams have been concluded; for the time being, it’s Mr. Pricopie’ responsibility,” was Ponta’s answer to media questions on a government reshuffle.  Asked to comment on some parents’ demands to have the pupils’ national test papers re-corrected, the Prime Minister said he wants the experts to formulate an opinion first.

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