Nominee's kids didn't get 'blind' admissions interviews
Minister of Health and Welfare nominee Chung Ho-young’s children did not get “blind” or anonymous interviews when applying to medical school, an official from Kyungpook National University told the JoongAng Ilbo Monday -- a direct contradiction of Chung's claim in a press conference Sunday.
During their interviews to transfer to the university in 2017 and 2018, Chung’s son and daughter were both easily identifiable, according to the official. At the time, Chung was president of Kyungpook National University Hospital.
“At the time of the interview for Chung’s children’s medical school transfers, the names and candidate numbers of the candidates were exposed to judges through documents,” the official from Kyungpook National University said on Monday. “During the interviews, there were no means of covering candidate’s faces such as curtains or masks.” In some admissions interviews in Korea, curtains or masks are used to guarantee anonymity and fight against preferential treatment.
Chung's nomination has been threatened by allegations of favoritism shown his children in admissions to Kyungpook's medical school and a charge that his son got a desk job in the military on dubious medical grounds. On Sunday, Chung said that the Kyungpook admissions interviewers would not have known his children’s identities or connection with himself.
Suspicions are being raised that the Kyungpook admission interviewers, who were all acquaintances of Chung and had gone to the same university as he did, according to press reports, may have intentionally given Chung’s children high scores. Chung’s daughter received the highest possible score for her interview, according to press reports.
“We changed the candidate system in 2019,” the official from Kyungpook National University said. “Before that, we had the names and candidate numbers on the documents.”
“I have never told other professors about my children’s applications,” Chung said Sunday. “There are about 50 judges in total for the admissions committee, and since they are randomly assigned on the day of the interview, it is a fair playing field and solicitation is impossible.”
However, according to analysis by the JoongAng Ilbo, the interview methods for transfer admissions to Kyungpook National University School of Medicine were not foolproof and the possibility of a specific student and a specific judge coming together in an interview was not as slim as Chung claimed.
“Since it is an elaborate interview system, there should be no room for special preferences,” Kyungpook National University said. “But we plan to carefully examine the process and see if there was preferential treatment as allegations were raised by the media.”
Regarding calls for his resignation even within the People Power Party, Chung said on Sunday, “Please consider that there has been no single illegal or unfair action conducted by me or my children.
Bae Hyun-jin, spokesperson for president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, said on Sunday, “We are closely monitoring the situation regarding Chung. Yoon said that there has to be a sure fact of unfairness in this case for it to be problematic.”
BY KIM YOUN-HO [firstname.lastname@example.org]