Education minister orders investigation into corrupt university admission caseMinister of Education Yoo Eun-hae ordered Pusan National University on Wednesday investigate the alleged corrupt admission of Cho Min, daughter of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, into medical school.
That afternoon, following the minister's order, Pusan National University held an emergency meeting — three months after the court found her mother, Chung Kyung-sim, guilty of the graduate school admission fraud.
"Authorities have begun to review and discuss the Ministry of Education's announcement. We will soon announce detailed positions such as the investigation plan," an official at Pusan National University said.
Cho entered Pusan National University's Graduate School of Medicine in 2015 after submitting a cover letter including a false certificate from the president of Dongyang University — where her mother Chung Kyung-sim is a professor — and a fabricated internship certificate.
Cho passed the National Examination for Medical Practitioners in January.
In December last year, Chung was sentenced to four years in prison in the first trial, after being indicted on charges of her daughter's academic fraud and her own dubious investment in a private equity fund.
The Seoul Central District Court concluded that Cho's seven major achievements in her résumé are all false, saying that "the forgery is fully acknowledged."
Pusan National University did not take action until recently and said that they will make a decision on canceling Cho's admission after the final judgement, in accordance with the presumption of innocence.
On March 8, the Ministry of Education officially ordered the university to establish and report a comprehensive plan for fact investigation to resolve suspicions related to Cho by March 22.
The university reported to the ministry on the due date that they will create a committee and task force of investigation and come up with conclusions as soon as possible.
Minister Yoo publicly urged the university on Wednesday during a meeting at the Sejong Government Complex, saying, "Pusan National University has a duty to investigate and take a series of countermeasures," and asked it to proceed with fact-checking investigations and hearings in accordance with administrative procedures and relevant acts.
It is difficult to predict whether Cho's admission will actually be canceled.
Under Article 34-6 of the Higher Education Act, universities are required to revoke admission if a student has submitted false documents during the admission process.
The Ministry of Education believes that it cannot be applied retroactively to Cho, who entered the school in 2015, as the clause was made in December 2019 and has been in effect since June last year.
"Cho is not subject to the application of the clause [Higher Education Act], but the university can take action according to its application guidelines of 2015," said Minister Yoo, reiterating that the cancellation of admission is up to the university.
Yoo added, "The Ministry of Education will guide and supervise Pusan National University's action plan so it can be faithfully carried out. We believe Pusan National University will proceed with the related procedures fairly and quickly as they are well aware of the severity of the issue."
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]