A day after the sentencing, a court started the trial of a former school principal accused of using 150,000 Singapore dollars ($120,000) from school funds to build a house for his religious order and pay for his tennis coach. Anthony Tan Kim Hock, 65, who retired in 2009 after 25 years at the school, is facing 21 criminal charges. If convicted he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Another case involved a 39-year male teacher who filmed a total of 94 upskirt videos of female students in uniform at various locations around Singapore, including at the secondary school where he taught. He was sentenced to nine months in jail last month after pleading in his defense that he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Another teacher allegedly installed three pinhole cameras in a female toilet in a school where he was teaching.
Other cases involving wayward educators include: a former school principal caught seeking sexual services with an underage prostitute, a law professor at the prestigious National University of Singapore being accused of accepting sex in exchange for good grades, a 51-year old male private tuition teacher caught sexually abusing seven of his male students and a 55-year old former childcare teacher who helped her boyfriend sell drugs.
Earlier this year, a teacher was caught sending lewd text messages to his 13 year old female student and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, while a former Chinese-language teacher was sentenced to 10 years jail and six strokes of the cane for molesting two boys and performing oral sex on a 8-year-old student.
Some Singaporeans worry such cases are tainting the reputation of Singapore's education system, rated as one of the best in the world. Students in Singapore, where the literacy rate is 96 percent, consistently outperform counterparts in the U.S., especially in math and science, a fact noted by President Barack Obama in a 2009 speech.
The Education Ministry said it takes a "very serious view of misconduct by teachers," and violators are subject to disciplinary action.
"Teachers who have misconducted themselves are a small minority of the 33,000 strong teaching force, and are not representative of the Education Service at large," it said in a statement to The Associated Press.
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