Dozens of students at a vocational college in Rotterdam have had their exams invalidated after a fraud investigation that led to three members of staff being suspended.
Two teachers and a team leader in the logistics department of the Zadkine regional college are implemented in the alleged fraud. They are suspected of falsifying attendance records and providing question papers and answers to persistent absentees.
Luc Verburgh, of the school’s supervisory council, said he had been alerted two weeks ago by two staff members. Following initial inquiries 60 exam papers submitted by 41 students have been declared void and all remaining exams have been postponed.
The education inspectorate has also been informed and an external agency has been called in to conduct an independent investigation.
‘I was totally shocked and have taken direct action,’ Verburgh told NOS. ‘No matter how much desire you have to help your students, this is unforgivable. They [the staff members] also wanted to make sure the school’s performance figures were cleaned up.’
Local media organisation Rijnmond and NOS said there had been indications last year of irregularities in the school’s logistics department. Verburgh said he had been unaware of these, but had since established that the fraud has been ongoing for at least a year.
‘The attendance records were out of order a number of times in the past year,’ he said. ‘On one occasion half the class was present and yet the whole class was signed in.’
Verburgh also said the college had not gained financially as a result of the fraud.
A spokesman for the education inspectorate said the college had taken appropriate measures since the incident came to light. ‘Nevertheless, we are taking this very seriously. We have never come across anything like this before.’