Another case of fraud in Senescyt’s review

During an online training course, a teacher at the University of Guayaquil told his colleagues that he installed a clone on his cousin’s computer to solve the higher education entrance exam (EAES). It was taken digitally, due to the pandemic, in September. So, “he finally came in,” he said. Meanwhile, others who haven’t been given a spot will take another test in 2021.

Ángela Álvarez, for example, underwent radiation therapy while preparing for EAES. This, he said, did not limit the time he spent studying. But he had 839 out of a thousand on the test and had no room for medicine. “I wanted to go to private universities, but even with a scholarship, I can’t afford it,” says the 17-year-old, who paid for a pre-university. On hearing the professor’s “confession”, she commented annoyingly: “nothing is enough when the corruption is greater”.

Before the video was released on social media, the Secretary of Higher Education (Senescyt) announced that on Thursday 12th he filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office to investigate “fraudulent mechanisms That a teacher could use to ‘help’. a parent at EAES.

This is not the first time that the test for admission to universities and institutes has been violated. In January, the assessment questions, then called Being Single, were filtered and taken in person.

Since 2013, the prosecution has had around 20 procedures for violating a password or a security system to access protected information contained in information systems; crime against legally reserved public information; non-consensual access to a computer, telematics or telecommunications system.

On Monday, November 16, 2020, this newspaper asked the Pichincha prosecutor’s office for information on complaints related to academic dishonesty related to this exam and asked how this latest case would unfold. Until press time, there has been no response.

The recent complaint will be analyzed in the Assembly’s Education Committee, said its chairman, Jimmy Candell. “We continue to await the results of previous investigations from the prosecutor’s office.”

The professor has been separated from the University of Guayaquil, confirmed its rector, Roberto Passailaigue. “It is a reprehensible fact that we condemn. We terminated his contract because a lack of confidence was evident. Senescyt must investigate the beneficiary student ”.

This last question is important to lawmaker Candell. But also that the prosecution follows the processes and obtains results as soon as possible. “What happens in January, so far we have no answers.”

For this assemblyman, academic fraud has other advantages in a new environment. “The teaching-learning process encounters non-traditional challenges which we must analyze.”

Article 207 of the Organic Law on Higher Education (LOES) explains how to act against these acts of academic dishonesty in universities. The legal provision – explained Santiago Jaramillo, lawyer and general secretary of the PUCE – allows these offenses to be punished.

Depending on the severity, the penalties can be a written warning, loss of subjects in the case of students, suspension of academic activities for teachers and temporary or permanent separation from universities.

Regarding the EAES, the lawyer considers that, if it is verified that the teacher has solved the exam of his family member, the test should be canceled and, therefore, also the quota allocated to the following this evaluation.

It is important – says Jaramillo – that Senescyt’s legal department remains attentive to what happens with open investigations and that it follows up on cases “so that they do not remain in a complaint”. In this way, he stresses, if it is a systematic problem, it will be possible to reach those responsible.

In the report of the professor denounced, we deduce that his cousin obtained a place in the same university where the professor worked. During the virtual meeting, he addresses a colleague to tell him that his loved one will soon be his student.

These stories scandalize young people like Ángela Estupiñán, 22. He took the exam seven times and did not have access to quotas in the public system. She wants to become a nurse; is auxiliary. “I wouldn’t agree to cheat.” The girl thinks that the new online modality of the exam offers more options for fraud.

The clone, which the former University of Guayaquil professor talks about in the video, allowed him to see his cousin’s exam on his computer and solve it, he said. This is remote access from another computer, explains Nycolai Moscoso, director of technology at UTE.

This tool makes it possible to manipulate a computer without having to sit in front of it, details the specialist “This option could be restricted from the link or the application in which the exam is taken.

There is no such thing as 100% security, emphasizes Moscoso, but considers it necessary to carry out a risk analysis. In the online assessments, he recommends that Senescyt or the institution connect to the student’s computer, to verify, also remotely, that the equipment does not have any software installed, which allows irregularities.

On September 17, the first day of the EAES, the head of the Senescyt, Agustín Albán, reported that 223 cases of academic dishonesty had been recorded. Last Thursday, they were asked about the total number of cases detected. But still no answer.

The expert in technologies applied to education, Andrés Hermann, recalls that various software, for example Plagium, make it possible to identify plagiarized texts in works. And others, like motion sensors, are used to find out if the person taking the online exam has opened another link. But beyond that, he believes that it is urgent to train students so that they do not think about fraud.

In context

Since 2012, a review has been taken to allocate quotas in the public system. And since 2013, there are allegations of fraud. In January, the previous Senescyt administration spoke of an entire network, which may have included “hackers”, to access questions.