The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that schools will suspend the use of the video conferencing application Zoom for home-based learning. This follows an incident during which an online class was hijacked and students were shown pornographic content by the hackers.
A student’s mother shared on Facebook that the females students in the class were then asked to flash their chest. The mother added that other schools might have had similar encounters.
The mother, whose daughter is in Secondary 1, said that the home-based geography lesson was hijacked by two Caucasian men. Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, she said that her daughter told her about the incident, adding that the teacher immediately terminated the session.
However, the mother said that the “damage was done”.
“The class, or at least my daughter, saw the lewd photos, and heard what the Caucasian guys asked,” she said.
Responding to media queries, the MOE said that it is aware of two incidents like that which occurred yesterday (9 April). Divisional director of educational technology Mr Aaron Loh said that these were “very serious incidents”, adding that the ministry is investigating both breaches and if warranted, will lodge a police report.
He said, “We are already working with Zoom to enhance its security settings and make these security measures clear and easy to follow.”
Mr Loh added that the ministry will make sure that security protocols are strictly adhered at all times, saying that teachers have been told to stick to security measures when using these platforms.
“We have reiterated and spelt out to all our teachers the security measures they must adhere to when using such video conferencing platforms. This includes requiring secure log-ins and not sharing the meeting link beyond the students in the class,” Mr Loh said.
“In the meantime, as a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out,” he said.
Nonetheless, MOE said that home-based learning will keep going as planned and that teachers will use the resources available under the Singapore Student Learning Space. This is a portal by the MOE that contains educational resources. MOE noted that teachers will also continue teaching offline.
Additionally, Mr Loh said that the ministry will continue working with parents to ensure the safety of learning environments. They will also work with schools to guide students on the etiquette of attending online classes.
“In the case of students who do not abide by the rules, we will take appropriate steps to counsel and guide them. If necessary, we may also impose disciplinary measures,” he said.