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Corruption Scandal Rocks Korea`s Leading Art University

Posted November. 22, 2008 09:32,   


Confusion is rampant at Hongik University, Korea’s leading art school, as two art professors implicated in scandals related to the university’s entrance exam for this scholastic year have been punished.

Hongik art professor Kim Seung-yeon, who exposed the scandal, said yesterday, “Corruption is chronic. One day, I bumped into an applicant’s parent on the street. I refused a suitcase full of cash she offered to me.”

“Hongik University has made its utmost efforts to find evidence. But it’s hard for a university, which is not a law enforcement agency, to investigate corruption in the college entrance exam since it is difficult to find evidence. The punishment should be determined by the professors themselves.”

Kim said the most common methods of cheating in the entrance exam of art colleges include informing applicants of the test content of the still-life painting and preferred composition of painting, and bribing professors and using eye signals or whispers to give high grades to certain applicants.

One of the seven professors allegedly involved said, “Kim should not groundlessly accuse innocent professors of being involved in the corruption. Since we have an effective system to prevent corruption in place, it is hard to give high grades to certain students.”

Applicants to art colleges and private college prep institutions have been rocked by news of the scandal, which broke out ahead of the college entrance exam for next year.

A high school student preparing for the college entrance exam at a private painting institute near Hongik University said, “Rumors say painting skills are not enough to guarantee admission. I’m disappointed since the rumor seems right. Such corruption scandals discourage me. It’s hard for my family to pay for private institutes and painting materials.”

A survey conducted by the university shows that a professor paid only 60 percent of tuition at a private institute when his son attended painting classes there.

The professor said, “Since the owner of the private institute, who is my friend, declined to receive the tuition fee, I paid 60 percent. Instead, I gave two of my paintings to him.”

An owner of a private painting institute said, “Professors at art colleges and private painting institutes have close ties since the latter can attract students only when they produce many successful applicants. Rumors have mushroomed since corruption cases have continuously appeared.”

An art professor at Hongik University said, “I feel really heartbroken over corruption cases involving entrance exams damaging the reputation of Hongik University.”