One-third of Younghoon hopefuls had false recordsOver a third of the pool of applicants for the 2012-13 academic year at the scandal-tainted Younghoon International Middle School have been revealed to have fabricated academic records, according to Seoul prosecutors yesterday.
The Seoul Northern District Prosecutors’ Office stated that 867, or 36 percent, of the 2,406 applicants to the elite private institution were involved.
Kim Ha-ju, president of the Younghoon School Foundation, and the 53-year-old head of admissions, identified only as Yim, were charged yesterday with orchestrating the fraud and receiving bribes from the parents of potential students.
Seven other faculty members were also indicted without detention for their involvement in the bribery and corruption surrounding the admissions process. Seven parents were booked for using bribes to get their kids in. The faculty members allegedly received some 100 million won ($89,000) in bribes in the 2009-10 academic year and, in return, falsified admissions test scores or gave favorable admissions reviews.
The grades of 28 of 292 applicants for the special consideration pool were found to have been tampered with, as well as those of 839 of 2,114 students in the regular pool.
Eight of the of the school’s foundation trustees have stepped down, according to the Seoul education office, and nine students have transferred to another school.
However, five students accepted on bribes back in the 2009-10 school year have already graduated, limiting what the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education can do.
In June, the vice principal of the school hanged himself at the school in the midst of the corruption scandal.
In May, following a two-month probe into the controversy, the education office revealed that the results of the 2013 admissions test to get into Younghoon had allegedly been tampered with in an attempt to offer preferential treatment to some applicants.
The Seoul education office last month ordered the school to overhaul its admissions processes and drop the subjective section in next year’s tests.
Critics have said Younghoon International Middle School should lose its status as an international school, but the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said the decision will be made after the school undergoes its routine five-year evaluation as required under the current law.
BY LEE HAN-GIL, SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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