All flights in South Korea shall be grounded Thursday, with no takeoffs or landings permitted for an hour.
Across the nation, mother and father shall be praying and packing lunch, and everybody shall be avoiding phrases like “fail” or “fall” to keep away from inflicting dangerous luck for the a whole lot of 1000’s college students taking the Faculty Scholastic Means Check (CSAT), South Korea’s college entrance examination.
The momentary no-fly order was issued by the Ministry of Inside to keep away from distracting airplane noise and provides check takers a good shot, however within the run-up to this yr’s examination, consideration has targeted on the other of honest play. This month, a dishonest scandal implicated a prestigious non-public faculty in Seoul’s swanky Gangnam District, twin woman college students, and their father, a senior faculty official.
At a press convention at Gangnam’s Suseo Police Station on Monday, officers displayed a bunch of yellow post-it notes and a small notepad stuffed with sequences of numbers. Beside them had been a number of pages from an examination paper, clear apart from a stack of numbers on the again web page.
Studying from her report, investigation chief Jin Jeom-ok defined how police had been alerted to a possible dishonest scandal at Sookmyung Women’ Excessive Faculty, a non-public establishment which boasts greater than 100 years of historical past and claims to ship extra college students to SKY faculties, the Korean equal of the Ivy League, than some other. Previously, the varsity has produced many profitable artists, businesswomen, and politicians, together with the present first girl of South Korea.
In late July, suspicion was aroused on the faculty when twin ladies within the junior yr shot up in school-wide rankings from 59th and 121st, respectively, to the very prime. The truth that their father was a senior faculty administrator additional fanned suspicion.
“(My daughter) got here dwelling crying and instructed me about what occurred at school. They had been shocked and felt betrayed,” Lee Shin-woo, Sookmyung mum or dad, instructed native media. “These college students who had been in (low positions) within the freshman yr abruptly rose to the highest. Then within the second semester, they received an award that solely goes to the highest 1%. Indicators had been there.”
Faculty rankings have an effect on college placements together with the CSAT outcomes, and may spell the distinction between a pupil getting their best choice faculty or not.
Lee and different mother and father demanded an investigation and commenced nightly candlelight protests in entrance of the varsity.
“College students had been shocked that their instructor and the classmates that they trusted had leaked the solutions,” Lee mentioned. “The highest college students had been particularly disheartened.”
Jin, the investigator, mentioned the twins’ father, Hyun Gyung-yong – in opposition to protocol – knew the mixture for the secure which held examination papers and reply sheets. There was no surveillance digital camera within the room with the secure, so no proof that he accessed it. However police mentioned Hyun repeatedly stayed late alone on the faculty with out logging additional time.
Protesting mother and father accused Hyun of taking the reply papers and copying or photographing them earlier than offering to his daughters.
“(Different college students) noticed the twins examine a small palm-sized notepad intensely simply earlier than the examination started. Once they requested about it, the women tried to cover it,” Lee mentioned. “They noticed them write the solutions down on the examination paper, which appeared like a sequence of numbers then crammed within the reply sheet.”
Most South Korean highschool college students take two exams per semester. They’re graded in relation to their classmates after which positioned into considered one of 9 brackets. The upper the bracket, the higher the college they will acquire early admission to. If college students cheat their means up the rankings, the relative grading system means different kids are inevitably bumped right down to decrease brackets.
By August, there have been sufficient complaints from mother and father that the varsity requested schooling authorities perform an investigation. As accusations grew, police additionally opened their very own case into the matter.
On September 5, police raided Sookmyung and the twins’ dwelling. They discovered Hyun had just lately changed each his work and private computer systems and bodily destroyed an previous exhausting disk.
Within the dwelling nevertheless, police discovered what they believed is a smoking gun: on one of many ladies’ telephones was a doc containing a number of solutions to the written examination, and it was dated earlier than the check passed off.
The women allegedly did not cowl their tracks in different methods. On one a part of the examination paper which concerned difficult mathematical calculations that they had simply put the solutions, with out displaying any work.
The household has continued to take care of their innocence. When requested concerning the clear examination paper, the twins’ claimed to have completed all of the calculations of their head, whereas the observe on the cellphone was merely stuffed with doable solutions – that they acquired all of them right was only a fortunate guess.
The household’s lawyer mentioned that police had failed to offer any direct proof of Hyun stealing the solutions, however on November 6, a choose dominated there was adequate proof and issued an arrest warrant.
“We imagine Hyun stole examination papers and reply sheets a complete of 5 occasions and equipped them to his daughters,” police mentioned Monday after expenses had been laid. “Investigators suspect the twins introduced the pocket book into the examination and copied the proper solutions onto the again of the examination papers (earlier than the check started).
Police are requesting prosecutors indict all three as co-conspirators on a cost of obstruction of enterprise, which might convey with it as much as 5 years in jail or a superb of $13,000. Although the twins have already withdrawn from the varsity, Sookmyung mentioned in an announcement they might be formally expelled and their examination scores nullified. A tribunal will even be held to take away Hyun from his place.
As consideration now turns to the CSAT itself, Lee, the mum or dad, mentioned the Sookmyung dishonest scandal is probably going not an remoted incident.
“I used to be instructed it’s customary for lecturers and directors and their kids to be on the similar faculty,” Lee mentioned. “However as we speak it was confirmed that such a customized (could be) against the law. So we demand an investigation.”
In an announcement, the Seoul Metropolitan Workplace of Training mentioned the case “damages absolutely the worth of educational achievement, which is equity. It’s a severe incident of corruption which crumbles the individuals’s belief in public schooling.”
Officers promised to clamp down on lecturers and their kids being on the similar faculty, and to put in safety cameras in all faculty places of work which retailer examination papers.
As for the twins, their lawyer mentioned they may plead not responsible on the trial, which is able to doubtless happen late this yr or early subsequent. Requested what they may do when all that is over, he mentioned they “will doubtless take the GED, or perhaps go away the nation.”