Special Admissions System Abused

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Special Admissions System Abused

The number of expulsions from universities is increasing as more students are discovered to have submitted forged documentation in order to take advantage of admission rules that make it easier for foreigners and Koreans who have been educated overseas to be admitted to Korean colleges. Already nine cases have come to light, three each at Yonsei and Korea universities and one each at Hongik, Dongguk, and Ewha. The public prosecutors are investigating the likelihood that professional brokers were involved.

From the cases known so far, there appear to be two main problems with such special admissions. One is the lack of proper document control and inspection that would enable the schools to detect counterfeits, and the other is the loophole in the special admission rule that allows those who pay for acquiring foreign nationalities legally or illegally have their children admitted to Korean universities. Some of the school diplomas and records of exit and reentry into the country even bore "official" seals. The applicants took full advantage of the fact that the schools cannot thoroughly confirm the validity of all application documents in the short time available for screening.

The system which is being undermined is the one geared for students who actually do have foreign nationality or Korean nationals who have studied abroad from the first grade through the twelfth. It is different from the system for the children of diplomats and overseas representatives of Korean commercial enterprises.

They comprise about 2 percent of college entrants. In any given year, only about 10 percent of a department''s quota is open to freshman, and applicants compete for those openings through interviews and tests. But in two of the cases mentioned above, students may qualify for admission by just presenting the proper documentation. They don''t even have to take the College Scholastic Ability Test. It is said that parents who can afford it can buy nationality for their children in certain non-English-speaking countries and thus get around the difficult tests and interviews. At least one student who possessed a foreign passport faked documents showing overseas school attendance; he was unaware that he would have qualified by virtue of being a foreign national alone. Was he misled by brokers? This is something the investigating team should keep in mind. Fairness is absolutely essential in the college admission process.

Universities should extend the time for reviewing documents. Parents must not be allowed to flout the law to get their children into good schools. The system of special admissions needs to be tightened.
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