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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Nov. 13)

Editorials from Korean Dailies 07:01 November 13, 2018

Shameful exam cheating
Case of twins shatters trust in school records

A shocking case of exam cheating by a father and his twin daughters has reignited controversy over the fairness of college admissions based on school records. Students and their parents are becoming more furious than ever over the case following a police announcement of the outcome of their two-month investigation Monday.

Police referred the case to the prosecution, recommending indictments against the three suspects. They confirmed the allegations that the teacher at Sookmyung Girls' High School in southern Seoul stole exam papers for his two second-year daughters who attend the same school, and helped them get high scores that placed them among the top ranks.

The case surfaced in August when students and parents raised a question about the twins' sudden jump in ranking from 59th and 121st, respectively, to fifth and then to first during a one-year period. If the result of the police investigation is true, the father went too far in his love for his daughters.

According to the police, the teacher, an academic affairs director who was detained Nov. 6, illegally accessed midterm and final exam papers and the correct answers on five occasions between June 2017 and July 2018. He is suspected of providing the papers and answers to his daughters.

The prosecution should review the case and corroborate evidence to indict them on charges of obstructing school business by engaging in cheating. It is inevitable for the father to face stern punishment because he allegedly violated the law, as well as professional ethics as a teacher. His daughters may also face criminal charges given the serious nature of their cheating, even though they are minors.

The cheating certainly reflects our society's obsession with college education which most students and parents believe can bring a good job and a bright future for the younger generation. Yet it is needless to say students should play fair to get admitted to universities.

In this regard, schools and education authorities should establish not only a fair competition system, but also a watertight supervisory system to detect and crack down on any types of exam cheating. The current system has not worked as seen in the twins' case. The father's school should have taken precautionary measures not least because he was working at the same school his daughters attended.

According to the Ministry of Education, 1,005 teachers work at the same schools their children attend as of August. The ministry needs to revise the law to prevent students from attending their parents' schools. In addition, the government must work together with schools to better manage exam-taking and school record keeping.

The authorities also should speed up reform of the college entrance exam in order to reduce admissions based on school records whose fairness has been hurt by repeated cases of cheating on exams. Thus, it is necessary to expand admissions based on the state-run College Scholastic Ability Test.


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