Posted November. 23, 2004 23:16,
On November 23, a few education offices in Seoul were confirmed to have brought in guidance counselors from each high school on November 16a day before the College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT)and given them unprecedented special education regarding the rumors about cheating on CSAT posted on the Internet, which clearly shows that the concerned education agencies had paid keen attention to this matter. In this context, Gwangju is not likely to be free from critics that its lukewarm action eventually resulted in the cheating scheme, even when the rumors specifically mentioned Gwangju.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education had sent official documents to its 11 subordinate education offices, saying that stories in the press and on the Internet were serious enough to raise concerns over cheating on the CSAT, and that supervision of any potential cheating method, including mobile phones, would be requested.
Therefore, some concerned education offices had conducted special education regarding the possible cheating scheme by directly bringing in guidance counselors from each high school before the day of exam, or sending official documents to step up alerts.
The conference material of an education office that Dong-a Ilbo obtained called for special attention, saying that the recent rumors on the Internet had mentioned collective cheating schemes using mobile phones that were hard to neglect easily.
The material also provided precautionary measures regarding detailed cheating tricks posted on the Internet, such as wristlets being an excellent tool to hide a mobile phone in and to send messages with.
Teachers were called in last year as well to attend a special education program before the exam day, but the program this year requested far more serious and unprecedented attention, a senior guidance counselor said.
I dont know if it is because of the TV news two days before the exam that mentioned the concern over possible cheating schemes, but we were fully instructed by the education office to be thorough when collecting mobile phones from students, explained a teacher.
About a week before the exam day, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development sent an official document asking for special attention to using mobile phone for cheating, so we forwarded the document to each education office to call for keen attention, said an insider of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.
The Gwangju Office of Education also said that it had sent the official document regarding special measures to prevent cheating activities on November 8, and it also convened a meeting of assistant principals and deans of academic affairs from 31 designated schools for exam places on November 9, and conducted special education to reinforce supervision and precautions. It also arranged meetings of exam supervisors and assigned officers for special education to prevent cheating activities on November 16.
However, preliminary measures by the Gwangju Office of Education were not as strong as those of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, leading to its failure in preventing mass cheating activities by examinees.
The specific information in advance was already reported, and the police asked for an investigation, but the Gwangju Office of Education failed to promptly respond even to those requests.
Official documents requesting attention to cheating were considered usual procedure at this time of the year, so most didnt pay much attention. The concerned education authorities and schools should have tried harder to directly convey clear messages to examiners, said a person associated with a school in Gwangju.