Saturday, June 10, 2023

South Korea: High School Surrounded By Scandal During CSAT Exams

South Korean students will face one of their toughest tests on Thursday but there is one high school that has to deal with a lot more than just the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The exam is so important that the government has ordered to ground flights for an hour. The CSAT, South Korea’s university entrance exam, will be taken by many students in the country.

The order by the government, which was issued by the Ministry of Interior, was so that students would not be bothered or distracted by the noises planes make when they fly by. Students in high schools across the country will be busy with the exams but there is one that is surrounded by a cheating scandal.

Earlier this month, a cheating scandal erupted at Sookmyung Girls High School. It all began when police released a report in which they were alerted of a potential cheating scandal. People began suspecting that there was something wrong back in July.

At the time, twin girls studying at the high school went from 59th and 121st in the rankings to a much higher ranking. Climbing the rankings quickly is not impossible but there was suspicion on their rise since their father was a school administrator.

One parent told local media that the students had gone from low positions to the top in a short amount of time. The parent added that in the second semester, the two students won an award that is only given to the top one percent.

The rankings along with the CSAT results are extremely important for students since those are used to decide if they can attend a college or not. The students going from low positions to the top quickly caught the attention of parents.

The quick rise led to complaints and parents later demanded an investigation. An investigator later said that the twins father knew the combination of the safe where the exams and answer sheets were stored.

Authorities were not able to confirm if he was opening the safe to get a look at the exams and answer sheets since the room had no security camera. Police have confirmed that he stayed at the school alone and that he was not logging overtime.

Parents think the twins father was taking the papers and copying them or taking pictures. The same parent who spoke to local media said the girls were seen studying from a small notepad before the exams. The parent added that they tried to hide it when they were asked about it.

The complaints from parents forced the school and authorities to open investigations. In early September, authorities raided the home of the man. They found that he had replaced his computers and destroyed an old hard drive.

Police did find some other evidence during the raid. One of the girls phones had a document with answers. The document was dated before the exam took place. Parts of the exams also didn’t have any work or calculations. This also raised suspicion since the exams had complicated math problems.

The girls have repeatedly said that they have done nothing wrong. They say they made no calculations since it was all made on their heads. They say the document found on the phone was a note with possible answers. The attorney representing the man and his daughters said a few weeks back that authorities had not shown direct proof to accuse them of cheating. Earlier this month, a judge found that there was enough evidence and issued an arrest warrant.

Sean Farlow
University graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Big fan of sports teams from South FL.


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