SINGAPORE: Teachers will suspend the use of video conferencing tool Zoom, following breaches involving obscene images, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Thursday (Apr 9).

MOE said it is currently investigating the breaches, which it described as “serious incidents”.

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“As a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out,” said Mr Aaron Loh, divisional director of the Educational Technology Division at MOE. 

A parent, who wanted to be known as Ms Loh, told CNA that her daughter, who is in Secondary 1, was in a home-based Geography lesson on Zoom when obscene images appeared on the screen.

Two men asked female students who were present to flash themselves, she added.

Ms Loh, 47, a civil servant said that her daughter, who studies in a school in the eastern part of Singapore, shared the incident with her.

“I am really glad she shared with me the incident. She seemed to try not to make a big deal of it, but I told her she should be afraid of such incidents, because this is not normal, and maybe even illegal,” she said.

Ms Loh said that the teacher immediately terminated the session, but “the damage was done”.

“The class, or at least my daughter, saw the lewd photos, and heard what the Caucasian guys asked,” she said.

MOE said it will lodge a police report if warranted.

“We are already working with Zoom to enhance its security settings and make these security measures clear and easy to follow,” Mr Loh said.

MOE added that on its part, it will ensure all security protocols are strictly followed at all times.

“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.

Home-based learning, however, will not be interrupted, he added.

“Teachers will continue to utilise the range of resources available under the Singapore Student Learning Space, as well as offline teaching and learning,” Mr Loh said.

He added that MOE will continue to work with parents to ensure a safe learning environment, and schools will also guide students on appropriate behaviours when attending online lessons.

“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.

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