[Letter to the editor]Protecting academic reputation
Almost half the questions on the admission tests to Gimpo, Anyang and Myongji foreign language high schools were leaked to about 200 students as they were being bused by the Mokdong Jongro M school on the day of the tests.
“We will step up regulations on the management of special-purpose high schools so that they are operated according to the purpose of their establishment,” officials said
Yet 54 disqualified students will be able to apply for a re-test. Why?
It would be overly lenient to allow the disqualified students to remain, just as it would be overly severe to take away the licenses of those three special-purpose high schools; cut permanently the maximum student capacity of other Gyeonggi special-purpose high schools; or expel all students who were admitted to special-purpose high schools in other provinces who may have attended the corrupt cram school.
In my opinion the retest should be cancelled. The claims of the next 54 students in line may appear valid, but cannot be honored, since the important thing is to uphold the hard-won reputation for solid achievement enjoyed by Korea and Korean students worldwide.
This year, Korean students scored 65 in mathematics, as opposed to 51 in that subject by students from the state with the highest score in the United States, in the most recent global testing regime.
As a judge for the World High Schools Debating Championship during the first week of July, I visited the just-finished campus of Gimpo Foreign Language High School.
The library there is inadequate. Since 47 of the 54 disqualified students are to enter that school, the burden would fall on them. Meanwhile, more resources could be devoted to buying several hundred books before the next class is admitted.
During our current intake, I read half of the essays submitted [for admission]. To reduce the chances of collusion, another native speaker colleague read half of the submitted essays later, and yet another colleague repeated the process with the remainder.
We Hafsonians take our responsibility seriously to protect the worldwide reputation of our small academy.
Richard Thompson, Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies, Yongin, Gyeonggi