Students probed for false applications

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Students probed for false applications

Jongno police are investigating whether 50 applicants who submitted university applications through the newly established admission officer system forged their records to inflate their qualifications.

According to the Jongno Police Precinct, officers began investigating the case after obtaining information in the middle of January that some university-hopefuls submitted forged award documents.

“So far 50 applicants are on the investigation list,” an officer said. There are a total of 76 universities that run an admission officer system, with 36 located in metropolitan areas.

Investigators asked all those universities to cooperate with the investigation.

If the universities find records that any of the 50 applicants applied for admission, police requested that they hand over paperwork submitted by students, including letters of recommendation, foreign language exam scores and award records.

Investigators are currently examining admission documents submitted to police by 50 universities, including Seoul National University. They said that 10 of the applicants under investigation had applied to those universities through their admission officer systems, but none of the students won admission.

“We haven’t yet found solid charges on the 50 applicants who are under suspicion of inflating their qualifications,” a police officer said. “We’re awaiting other universities’ submission of documents on the suspects.”

Universities that adopted the admission officer system select students by examining an applicant’s self-introduction letter, teacher recommendations, study plan, foreign language exam scores, award records and documents showing extracurricular activities.

The new admission measure was introduced in 2008 by the Education Ministry as a way to give more freedom to universities to choose their students by examining the applicants’ performance in a wide range of areas instead of relying solely on their College Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and high school grades.

The police probe is the latest in a series of law enforcement efforts to crack down on irregularities by public officials, particularly in the education sector.

Declaring a war against corruption, President Lee Myung-bak said earlier this week that his administration will devote its efforts to root out the perennial irregularities committed by public servants, making it the priority for his third year in office.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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