Curtin University in Australia has taken immediate steps to review its student assessment process after its lecturer, a Malaysian, admitted to taking bribes to raise students’ marks.
In response to queries by The Star, the university’s Corporate Relations and Development vice-president Valerie Raubenheimer said it has “established procedures” to investigate all reports received through its complaints portal.
“In the wake of allegations against Foong, external consultants were appointed to complete forensic and student assessment process reviews. “While any instance of misconduct is disappointing, more than 5,000 people are employed by Curtin and the vast majority are honest and ethical.
“The university believes its handling of this case shows these processes are working and the reputation of Curtin as an institution of integrity will be enhanced,” she said in a statement.
Foong had increased the marks of two students who should have failed their units in Applied Science in Construction Management. One student paid him AUS$3,000 (RM8,900) and the other AUS$1,500 (RM4,460).
The report added that Foong had also increased the mark of a third student’s assignment and given him a pass mark on an assignment that was not submitted.
Foong is said to have a personal and professional connection with the student’s father in Malaysia.
A lecturer with the construction and management department for over 24 years, Foong was sacked last November following allegations that he had offered to raise students’ failing grades in exchange for money.
Malaysia’s National Professors’ Council Cluster of Governance, Law and Public Management head Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said Foong’s conduct was unethical and illegal.
“Under laws that prevent corruption, it would definitely be an offence. Most Malaysian universities have a code of ethics and staff disciplinary rules that state that lecturers cannot approach students for bribes,” he said.
Foong is not the first Malaysian to bring public controversy to the university.
In 2011, Malaysian-born Keith Low Kok was sentenced to a two-year jail term after admitting to taking bribes to falsify English language test results to help foreign immigrants with their permanent residency and student visas.
Low had committed the offence while he was employed as an administrative support officer at Curtin University’s English Language Centre, which administered tests for the International English Testing System (IELTS).
Meanwhile, Bukit Aman will cooperate with the Australian authorities in the probe against Foong.
Federal Commercial Crime Investigation department assistant director Asst Comm Nerita Yaacob said police were waiting for more information on the case.
“We will investigate whether the case involved elements of forgery, if the suspect had amendments to documents.”
Since the university has twinning programmes with local collages, ACP Nerita said police would investigate the matter further.
This article originally appeared on asiaone