Posted November. 30, 2004 22:34,
It was reported yesterday that the elaborate state-run university entrance exam cheating scam involving mobile phones which was assumed to take place only within Gwangju was also committed in Seoul, Chungnam, and Jeonbuk.
On top of that, with at least 10 students from two groups confirmed as systematically cooperating in the cheating as Gwangju students did, the number of participants under investigation is expected to increase.
As it has been verified that cheating might be nationwide and more systematic, the nations criticism on the education authoritys cursory supervision and management is increasing, and the credibility of the exam is seriously tarnished.
The Cyber Investigation Team of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said yesterday, We examined text messages of SK Telecom and LG Telecom and found that 21 groups with 82 participants in Seoul, Chungnam, Jeonbuk, Jeonnam, and Gwangju were involved in cheating on the exam. They are now under investigation.
According to the police, they found four groups with 10 participants in Seoul, two groups with four participants in the Chungnam area, eight groups with 39 participants in the Jeonbuk area, and seven groups with 29 participants in the Gwangju and Jeonnam areas. However, there was no such suspicion in Gyeonggi, Gangwon, and Yeongnam areas.
As a result, including four groups with 183 participants who are under investigation in Jeonnam Provincial Police Agency, the total number of suspects is as much as 267, with 265 participants from 25 groups and two surrogate exam takers.
However, the sources from the police said, Since we have not yet examined 12,000 text messages of KTF, and each provincial police agency is now intensively investigating any suspicion of surrogate exam takers, the number of suspects is expected to increase greatly.
Moreover, according to the contents of text messages sent by students in Jeonbuk and Gwangju areas, the two groups were confirmed to have systematically cooperated in the cheating. For example, intermediate groups consisting of one or two students, called Junggyejo, after receiving answers from certain groups called Seonsu, sent the answers to five or six exam takers during the exam.
The sources from the police said, We will wrap up the investigation as soon as possible because the deliberation for university entrance is just around the corner.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development held an emergency meeting yesterday with participation of vice-superintendents of education affairs and directors of secondary education from five municipal or provincial offices of education of the regions that the exam cheating occurred in, and officials of the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation, where they had a discussion on how to set up criteria to nullify the cheating participants scores.
Seo Nam-su, an assistant vice-minister, said at the briefing, Since the list of cheating participants is expected to be handed over by December 6, there is no problem in issuing transcripts to students by December 14 and thus university entrance deliberation will be implemented as scheduled, adding, Even though there are some voices calling for re-examination, the Ministry decided that the priority is not to give any harm to the majority of honest students.
Seo also added, The types and levels of the cheating are so various that the ministry will set up a Committee for the Management of Nullification through which we will discuss individual cases and standards of punishment.