Second crackdown on SAT hagwons that cheat

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Second crackdown on SAT hagwons that cheat

Following the cancellation of SAT exams nationwide because questions leaked out from cram schools, education authorities found six out of 10 hagwon coaching students for the SATs in the Gangnam area of Seoul are breaking regulations.

The Ministry of Education on Wednesday announced the results of a monthlong crackdown on SAT hagwons, or private academies, in the posh, education-focused Gangnam District, southern Seoul. It found that 39 out of 61 institutions were breaking some 88 regulations.

The violations included inadequate documentation, not reporting the true nature of the business conducted, inflated tuition fees and hiring unqualified teachers.

Eight schools had their licenses revoked and four were ordered to halt operations. Fines have been levied on the 12 schools totaling 28.5 million won ($24,866).

Two other schools will be prosecuted for operating without proper licenses.

Other institutions were given penalty points, which, if more points are added, can lead to closures.

One common issue was that many schools didn’t hire proper lecturers, relying instead on college students with study abroad experience or foreigners for limited stints of six to eight months.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education conducted a first round of inspections from May 8 to 10 after the New Jersey-based test administrators, the College Board, canceled the SATs after discovering that cram schools had obtained questions for the standard SAT and the subject test . An SAT subject test in biology scheduled for June was also canceled.

The education office halted operations of 22 out of 44 institutions they investigated in the Gangnam area in the first round. The monthlong second round ended June 14.

After the second round, the Ministry of Education and the Seoul Education Office announced reform measures to “restore the lost credibility of SAT hagwon” and “prevent further innocent victims.”


BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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