[EDITORIALS]Educators on the take

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[EDITORIALS]Educators on the take

We were distressed to learn that 73 education officials in Ulsan, including 14 school principals, have been charged with corruption and 11 of them have been detained by local prosecutors. Corruption has been uncovered among politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats, and now we find that educators have joined the ugly rally.

Bribery in education for employment and promotions is not unknown, but it is unprecedented that this many school principals were involved en masse. We are dumbfounded to learn that some principals taught their successors how to accept bribes without risks and which companies provide the most money.

It appears that this is only the beginning of the bribery schemes. A source at the Ulsan District Prosecutors Office said that only those who received over 10 million won ($7,600) or accepted bribes habitually were detained, in order to reduce the aftershocks in the local education system, suggesting that some corrupt officials have gotten away scot-free.

Despite the lamentable reality, the Education Ministry and the local office of education had no idea that such corruption existed until the prosecutors launched their investigation. The government neglected its supervisory and auditing duties.

At this moment, construction work on new classrooms at high schools nationwide is in full swing in order to reduce the number of students per class to 35 by next year.

There is a great possibility that there is also corruption involved in some of these projects. The government should launch all-out audits on all these construction projects. Through such audits, corruption and irregularities of the education officials as well as the monitoring agencies should be uncovered and dealt with.
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