Vast sums paid for CSAT aids

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Vast sums paid for CSAT aids

A cram-school lecturer has been paying a high school teacher hundreds of millions of won over the past few years for study aids for the national college entrance exam, police said.

The high school teacher, surnamed Park, knows a teacher that currently writes questions for the practice exams of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). They got to know each other when they worked together in the same school. Park reportedly found out about questions on the most recent practice CSAT from the other teacher.

The private academy lecturer surnamed Lee allegedly paid Park some 300 million won ($258,260) over the past six years for materials to help students prepare for the test.

“As of now, the money appears to have been in return for study materials in general,” said a police officer. “Whether Lee paid Park for leaking actual practice test questions remains unclear.”

Lee is a lecturer at a popular after-school private cram school that provides both online and offline courses to high school students studying for the CSAT.

High school students in Korea are tested multiple times throughout the school year with CSAT practice runs.

A hagwon, or cram school, lecturer’s salary tends to rise with his or her popularity with the students. The most popular lecturers show students exactly the kind of questions they will be asked on the test.

For the past six years, when Lee paid Park for test materials on the language and literature sections of the test, Park in turn allegedly paid six to seven teachers at his school to draft test materials for him.

He reportedly paid teachers some 30,000 to 50,000 won per questionnaire, paying them tens of millions of won in total.

One of those teachers was a reviewer of the CSAT practice tests and leaked the materials of the mock test in early June to Park, who then shared them with Lee.

The Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, which operates the CSAT, suspected a leak of materials when students said Lee had taught the same literature passage and questions as those on the mock CSAT. The institute reported this to police.

Police arrested Park on charges of obstruction of official duties.

Authorities are yet to decide on whether to slap Lee with a disciplinary action or a criminal arrest.

While profit-seeking is banned by public officials under the State Public Officials Act, Lee works for a private institute.

BY PARK MIN-JE [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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