By Addison Pascua

PHOTO: Reddit

 In coordination with the authorities, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday assured to investigate online cheating among students amid the implementation of distance learning, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

During the Palace briefing, Briones said students who were involved in the viral Facebook group named, “Online Kopyahan,” wherein they share answers to their respective modules, exams, and other learning materials will be held accountable.

“We are now seeking the assistance of authorities in tracing kasi mayroon naman talagang, may questions kasi tayo diyan at may key answers tayo diyan. Kung na-leak ba ‘yan o napunta sa estudyante o nagkopyahan, kailangan imbestigahan natin ‘yan,” Briones said.

“We will take steps and we are already in touch with appropriate authorities because we will not tolerate it [cheating], at least in education,” she vowed.

Earlier, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said they are now monitoring the said group and other Facebook pages for online cheating.

The “Online Kopyahan” Facebook group, which at one point reached more than 600,000 community members, has been taken down after a local television report aired Friday night at “24 Oras.”

The group, which was filled with posts of test papers and questionnaires including key answers on various subjects, became publicly visible on Facebook before it was archived.

While admitting that cheating is considered a “lingering issue,” Briones, nonetheless, emphasized that adults who are guiding these students should institute a good example especially in uplifting the value of honesty.

“‘Yung question ng cheating in schools ay lingering issue ‘yan. Hindi ko jina-justify. I’m saying it is there and we will not tolerate it,” Briones pointed out.

“We are taught that honesty is the best policy and the best teachers of that honesty are the adults themselves,” she reiterated.

Due to the restrictions brought by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, students are currently being taught for the second time around by different learning modalities such as online classes, modular learning, and, radio and TV.

Meanwhile, Malacañang also confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in a maximum of 120 public and private schools in areas deemed low-risk for COVID-19.

However, according to the DepEd, the start of such classes will still be determined by the host local government unit, including the consent of parents and guardians to send their children back to in-person classes.