Student blames teacher for CSAT
In 2011, Choi Ju-won wanted to get into an undergraduate medical school. But the 17-year-old currently living in Songpa District, southeastern Seoul, just wasn’t good enough.
He only got into Kyung Hee University, and he enrolled. But Choi didn’t give up on his dream of medical school. He took a leave from Kyung Hee and continued to take the annual College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) four consecutive years in total, including last week’s test.
He screwed up last week, he says. But this time, he’s sure it wasn’t his fault. The young man blames an overly noisy supervisor for the English portion of the test.
And he’s not being quiet about it.
On Tuesday, Choi wrote on Sumanhui, an online academic community network, that supervisor Park Myeong-cheon, a teacher at Doonchon High School, failed to turn off his cellphone during the listening portion of the English exam and that “disturbing sounds” from the phone affected his entire English score.
The buzzing sounds were so loud, he wrote, that “my desk shook.” The phone buzzed five times in total, 20 seconds each, Choi claims.
The Ministry of Education strictly forbids both students and supervisors from possessing cellphones during test time.
On Wednesday, Choi told the Korea JoongAng Daily in a telephone interview that he reported his case to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, but was told that “there isn’t a manual [rule book] for my issue and that I’d have to sue [Park] for financial compensation.”
Both the city office and Park are being “obnoxious” in failing to offer him solutions for his loss, he said.
Choi said that his parents reached Park by phone on Tuesday. The teacher told his parents he “wouldn’t take responsibility,” Choi said.
“He’s not answering my calls now,” Choi continued.
As to what compensation he wants, Choi answered: “I think I might have to take the CSAT again next year, so I want to be financed for the necessary educational costs, like admission fees for private cram schools. I mean, it’s not like I’m asking for money. I don’t need that.
“If this case doesn’t get solved, I’m seriously going to commit suicide,” he said. On his online post, he was even specific about that threat: He vowed to hurl himself from Mapo Bridge in Yeouido on Nov. 30 at 10 p.m.
Park was unable for comment on Wednesday.
The Seoul education office said it is currently discussing punishing Park. But in terms of any kind of financial compensation for Choi, the student would have to “follow the social norm by bringing formal charges” against Park.
“When I told the student [Choi] that we had no ‘manual’ for his case, we were referring to financial compensation,” Kim Seong-jun, a commissioner of the Curriculum Policy Division at the Seoul education office, said on Wednesday.
Kim continued that his office had collected statements from other test-takers in the same room, but that they testified “there probably was a noise, but not so loud as to be disturbing.”
Meanwhile in Namyangju, Gyeonggi, a 22-year-old female student surnamed Na also claimed that supervisors of her English listening test were at fault for her poor performance.
She claims the speakers in her classroom malfunctioned and two questions were skipped. Instead of replaying the skipped sections after the entire English exam, which is the normal procedure, Na’s supervisors played them as the students were doing the reading comprehension section, which follows the listening section.
An official at the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education said the supervisors had followed the manual, which allows them to take action based on their own judgement.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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