[EDITORIALS]When teachers help kids cheatA Seoul Education Office investigation has revealed that a teacher and a student in a Gangnam high school had systematically conspired to raise the student’s grades. The teacher marked answers on tests on the student’s behalf, and proposed fellow teachers to tutor the boy, the investigations showed.
The grade inflation cases disclosed so far mostly involved schools that tried to inflate all their students’ grades. Some schools gave unreasonably easy tests, or made questions available to students in advance. In some cases, tests had the same questions as those given in previous years.
But the teacher in the Gangnam case was extremely cunning about helping the student cheat. He marked test papers for the student, volunteered to proctor the student’s tests and forged the signatures of supervising teachers. As a result, the boy’s grades rose from the top 10 to the top three. After the cheating was exposed, the student’s grades fell again.
The education office discovered that there had been 322 unauthorized swaps of test proctoring duties at the school in question, prompting speculation that other teachers might have been involved in cheating. The cheating teacher is also suspected of tutoring students outside of school, as are some of his colleagues. Such private tutoring by a classroom teacher is illegal. It is hard to believe that this teacher manipulated grades and tutored the student entirely on his own. It is likely that the student’s parents and other teachers are involved.
It is highly likely that similar cheating takes place at other schools, discreetly but widely. Because such teachers are not paying attention to their teaching, focusing instead on manipulating grades, this is a betrayal of the public trust. It is also likely that many classroom teachers are involved in private tutoring. Since these unreliable grades are used to decide university admissions, who can possibly trust this nation’s college admissions system?
We can no longer neglect the management of high school records. The prosecution must thoroughly investigate any suspicious grade handling and any questionable relationships between parents and teachers. Teachers must be supervised and strictly evaluated, and the unfit should be fired. This sort of behavior on the part of teachers must be treated as a serious crime if it is to be rooted out of our society.