THE Ministry of Education suspects the leaked Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results may have originated when the webmasters compiled the results that were to be used for the online release as well as for text messaging.
Speaking with the Express in a telephone interview yesterday, Acting Chief Education officer Harrilal Seecharan said the ministry does not want to state where the leak originated, but it could have only come after the ministry compiled the list following the placing of the pupils.
"What happened is that at the end of the exercise, there are a couple files that are created: one for putting the results on the Internet and the other to use to send out text messages.
"What we suspect is that somewhere in between creating those files, we suspect—and again, we are not sure; we have not been able to match up the files to ensure that it is identical—we suspect something took place with those files.
"Whether people from outside who are involved with the ministry's website had access to it or whether it was internal, we suspect that somewhere along that point, people may have accessed it" Seecharan said.
This year's was the first time the ministry sought to release the results via the Internet and text messaging.
Asked if they will be looking to review the webmaster to ensure there are no more leaks in the future, Seecharan said: "We have internally identified two things. We certainly have to look at how we communicate or how we try to facilitate the public, in terms of making data available, therefore, that process, we have to look at.
"With respect to the persons who may or may not be involved, we have to wait until the completion of the investigations. We can't assume that they were involved."
Asked who were the webmasters that were responsible for putting together the files, Seecharan said: "A couple of people within the ministry who might have worked on the website on the ministry side. There are other companies who supported the process, so that there are serval persons both within and without the ministry who would have possibly had access to the website."
Public Information officer of the Police Service Sgt Wayne Mystar said during yesterday's daily press briefing that officers of the Cyber Unit began investigations on orders of the Commissioner of Police on Wednesday after the results were leaked. He said several people from the ministry had been questioned in relation to the leak but could say no more.
Seecharan said the results that were released by the ministry and given to children are the authenticated results, and the results that were leaked may be accurate, but it cannot be used for a child to enter the school.
He said there were no problems in the process of marking the exams through placing the children, which ended on June 15, just a month after the May 10 SEA exam date and the release of the information on Wednesday, one day before it's original release date, was "not an issue" as the integrity of the results were kept.
Seecharan added though that the ministry would have worked out a schedule to give the results and the leak was just premature.
"In the past few years, we have made results available to internal staff the night before the release. I think out of an abundance of caution, the ministry has to treat with the matter seriously because the fact is that someone may have conducted a criminal act and, also, our internal process to make sure that issues like these don't arise in the future," he said.
Seecharan assured there was absolutely no breach in the examination process as no one in Trinidad and Tobago had access to the exams.
Commenting on the leak, Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Roustan Job, in a telephone interview, said the leak was "a bit troublesome".
"If that is so, it is indeed an indictment," he added. Job said the union is hopeful that after reviewing the situation, measures will be put in place to ensure there is no repeat of this incident.