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Regrets over College Entrance Scam Issue

Posted November. 24, 2004 23:02,   


On the morning of November 24, the reporter was able to meet with one of 141 students involved in the large-scale cheating scandal in this year’s College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) and his homeroom teacher in a counseling room at the high school in Gwangju.

Lee is charged for having paid the so-called “players,” who gave out answers to their clients via cellular phones, in order to receive answers. Lee, evidently feeling restless, could not start to speak at first and murmured repeatedly that he was sorry to his parents and teachers.

Based on what Lee said regarding the issue, the reporter organized his story in a form of confession:

When I first heard of the rumors that people cheated on the CSAT in September, I dismissed it as something that had nothing to do with me. When one of my friends, who also was part of this scheme, told me that there were many seniors who went to good universities by raising their scores in an improper manner, I thought he was joking.

However, things went differently. When I was introduced to the “original member,” who benefited from this cheating system, he said that if I pay 300,000 won for each subject, he would send me answers figured out by university students. He also said that I could give him the money later.

As time went by, I realized that there were many other students who were part of it, and I was tempted. Especially after listening to detailed instructions of the plan to use mobile phones, I thought if I do succeed, I could at least go to universities in the provinces.

About 10 days before the CSAT, I handed over 500,000 won for two subjects. I prepared 400,000 won by lying to my mother that it was for the tuition of hagwon, a private academy. To the player, I promised to pay the rest after the mission was successfully carried out. I still cannot forget such a pleased and satisfied look on mother’s face as she gave me the money that she had thought would be spent for her son’s academic pursuit.

On the day of examination, in the first period, I got so nervous even though I was not supposed to get answers during this period. I felt tremendous pressure from the fact that I had my cell phone with me. I would be startled when a cell phone of other people vibrated in the room. The second period was worse. I was supposed to get answers through my mobile phone. Even though there was plenty of time until the answers arrived, I could not concentrate on the test, and I obviously screwed up. Moreover, no answers came in during the second period. In the third period, I had already lost trust on the answer keys provided by the players. The exam went horribly.

The next day, I heard the news that the cheating was revealed, and the instigators were caught by the police. When calls from the school and the police looked for my parents, I really wanted to die. The police station – I went there for the first time in my life – was scary and the questions posed by reporters were terrifying.

Everything is my fault, my mistake. I am so mad at myself for not being able to refuse temporary temptation. Sorry is the only word that I can say to my parents, teachers, and friends who trusted me.

I am very grateful to teachers and friends who treat me in the same way as before. I want to expiate my sins and forget about everything as soon as possible. The hardest thing right now is to see close people around me suffer. I swear that I will never do anything to let my parents down.

Yang-Hwan Jung ray@donga.com