CSAT: Dishonest scandal erupts as South Korean college students face their hardest take a look at


Across the nation, dad and mom can be praying and packing lunch, and everybody can be avoiding phrases like “fail” or “fall” to keep away from inflicting unhealthy luck for the tons of of hundreds college students taking the Faculty Scholastic Capability Take a look at (CSAT), South Korea’s college entrance examination.

The momentary no-fly order was issued by the Ministry of Inside to keep away from distracting airplane noise and provides take a look at takers a good shot, however within the run-up to this yr’s examination, consideration has targeted on the other of truthful play. This month, a dishonest scandal implicated a prestigious personal college in Seoul’s swanky Gangnam District, twin woman college students, and their father, a senior college official.

At a press convention at Gangnam’s Suseo Police Station on Monday, officers displayed a number of yellow post-it notes and a small notepad stuffed with sequences of numbers. Beside them have been a number of pages from an examination paper, clear aside from a stack of numbers on the again pagje.

Studying from her report, investigation chief Jin Jeom-ok defined how police had been alerted to a possible dishonest scandal at Sookmyung Ladies’ Excessive Faculty, a personal establishment which boasts greater than 100 years of historical past and claims to ship extra college students to SKY schools, the Korean equal of the Ivy League, than another. Up to now, the college has produced many profitable artists, businesswomen, and politicians, together with the present first girl of South Korea.

A student checks her exam room number before the annual College Scholastic Ability Test, a standardised exam for college entrance, at a high school in Seoul on November 23, 2017.

In late July, suspicion was aroused on the college when twin ladies within the junior yr shot up in school-wide rankings from 59th and 121st, respectively, to the very prime. The truth that their father was a senior college administrator additional fanned suspicion.

“(My daughter) got here dwelling crying and instructed me about what occurred at school. They have been shocked and felt betrayed,” Lee Shin-woo, Sookmyung mum or dad, instructed native media. “These college students who have been in (low positions) within the freshman yr abruptly rose to the highest. Then within the second semester, they received an award that solely goes to the highest 1%. Indicators have been there.”

Faculty rankings have an effect on college placements together with the CSAT outcomes, and may spell the distinction between a scholar getting their best choice college or not.

Lee and different dad and mom demanded an investigation and commenced nightly candlelight protests in entrance of the college.

“College students have been shocked that their trainer and the classmates that they trusted had leaked the solutions,” Lee mentioned. “The highest college students have been particularly disheartened.”

A student enters an exam room to take the annual College Scholastic Ability Test, a standardised exam for college entrance, at a high school in Seoul on November 23, 2017.

Jin, the investigator, mentioned the twins’ father, Hyun Gyung-yong — in opposition to protocol — knew the mix for the protected which held examination papers and reply sheets. There was no surveillance digicam within the room with the protected, so no proof that he accessed it. However police mentioned Hyun repeatedly stayed late alone on the college with out logging additional time.

Protesting dad and mom accused Hyun of taking the reply papers and copying or photographing them earlier than offering to his daughters.

“(Different college students) noticed the twins research a small palm-sized notepad intensely simply earlier than the examination started. After they requested about it, the ladies tried to cover it,” Lee mentioned. “They noticed them write the solutions down on the examination paper, which appeared like a sequence of numbers then stuffed within the reply sheet.”

Most South Korean highschool college students take two exams per semester. They’re graded in relation to their classmates after which positioned into certainly one of 9 brackets. The upper the bracket, the higher the college they will acquire early admission to. If college students cheat their approach up the rankings, the relative grading system means different kids are inevitably bumped right down to decrease brackets.

Scraps of paper Suseo Police say were used to cheat in a school exam by twin girls whose father was a school administrator.

Smoking gun

By August, there have been sufficient complaints from dad and mom that the college requested training authorities perform an investigation. As accusations grew, police additionally opened their very own case into the matter.

On September 5, police raided Sookmyung and the twins’ dwelling. They discovered Hyun had just lately changed each his work and private computer systems and bodily destroyed an previous onerous disk.

Within the dwelling nonetheless, police discovered what they believed is a smoking gun: on one of many ladies’ telephones was a doc containing a number of solutions to the written examination, and it was dated earlier than the take a look at happened.

The ladies allegedly didn’t cowl their tracks in different methods. On one a part of the examination paper which concerned sophisticated mathematical calculations they’d simply put the solutions, with out exhibiting any work.

The household has continued to take care of their innocence. When requested concerning the clear examination paper, the twins’ claimed to have performed all of the calculations of their head, whereas the be aware on the telephone was merely stuffed with attainable solutions — that they acquired all of them right was only a fortunate guess.

The girls accused of cheating had the answers to several exam questions on their phone before the test, they said they were just lucky guesses.

The household’s legal professional mentioned that police had failed to supply any direct proof of Hyun stealing the solutions, however on November 6, a decide dominated there was ample proof and issued an arrest warrant.

“We consider Hyun stole examination papers and reply sheets a complete of 5 instances and equipped them to his daughters,” police mentioned Monday after fees have been laid. “Investigators suspect the twins introduced the pocket book into the examination and copied the right solutions onto the again of the examination papers (earlier than the take a look at started).

Police are requesting prosecutors indict all three as co-conspirators on a cost of obstruction of enterprise, which may deliver with it as much as 5 years in jail or a tremendous of $13,000. Although the twins have already withdrawn from the college, Sookmyung mentioned in an announcement they’d be formally expelled and their examination scores nullified. A tribunal may also be held to take away Hyun from his place.

As consideration now turns to the CSAT itself, Lee, the mum or dad, mentioned the Sookmyung dishonest scandal is probably going not an remoted incident.

“I used to be instructed it’s customary for lecturers and directors and their kids to be on the similar college,” Lee mentioned. “However in the present day it was confirmed that such a customized (could be) against the law. So we demand an investigation.”

In an announcement, the Seoul Metropolitan Workplace of Training mentioned the case “damages absolutely the worth of educational achievement, which is equity. It’s a severe incident of corruption which crumbles the folks’s belief in public training.”

Officers promised to clamp down on lecturers and their kids being on the similar college, and to put in safety cameras in all college places of work which retailer examination papers.

As for the twins, their legal professional mentioned they are going to plead not responsible on the trial, which can possible happen late this yr or early subsequent. Requested what they are going to do when all that is over, he mentioned they “will possible take the GED, or perhaps go away the nation.”

CNN’s Kayoung Kim and Hyeri Kim contributed reporting.

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