Fix the loopholes

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Fix the loopholes

Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of the president’s controversial friend Choi Soon-sil, was admitted into the prestigious Ewha Womans University through the back door and enjoyed all kinds of privileges. The university is suspected of having given her special treatment from her exceptional admission as a dressage athlete to cooking up grades in classes she hardly attended. Revelations of favoritism dishearten 600,000 college aspirants and raise serious doubts about the fairness in college admissions. Rolling admissions at four-year universities and fairness in the undergraduate grading system have come under fire as a result.

The Ministry of Education disclosed the findings of an investigation of the university. According to its findings, Chung was accepted through rolling admissions in October 2014 after the college reflected her gold medal in the team equestrian competition at the 2014 Asian Games after she submitted admissions materials. On the day of the interview, the head of admissions ordered the judges to select a candidate with an athletic gold medal. The judges ended up granting Chung a higher interview score than a student who received a higher score in application papers. Ewha President Choi Kyung-hee, who recently resigned, lied when she denied charges of any special treatment for Chung.

The school went further to indulge Chung after she enrolled. Chung did not attend a single class in eight of the courses she studied at Ewha from the first semester last year to this summer, and yet she received credit for all of them. Her professor even completed her assignments. We are appalled these things could happen at a 130-year-old elite school.

While exposing the wrongdoings, the Education Ministry did not further question with whom the professors conspired or how they came to be awarded various government-subsidized projects. It just cancelled Chung’s admission and filed a criminal investigation for former college president Choi and some others. The ministry has failed to answer for the deeper public suspicion about the college entrance system and various favoritism allegations. The ministry must disclose how Ewha won so many government subsidy programs and come up with actions to ensure transparency in college admissions. It needs to build confidence in the admission quota for special talents in the arts and sports and its admission of students purely on school records. The country’s entire education system could shake if confidence in the college entrance system is lost.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 19, Page 30

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