Location South Korea South Korea

South Korea: professors name children as co-authors in dissertations

Professors at 29 universities in South Korea named their children as co-authors in dissertations over the past decade as a deceitful means to help boost their academic profiles ahead of the university admissions, the ROK government said Friday.

The Ministry of Education said it reviewed dissertations published between February 2007 and last October and found 82 such instances nationwide. Most of the children were high school juniors or high school seniors.

Of the total, 39 cases found at 16 universities were part of a joint program by high schools and universities in which the latter supervises paper writing of the former.

Sungkyunkwan University had eight cases, followed by Yonsei (seven), Seoul National (six) and Kookmin (six).

The remaining 43 cases found in 19 universities had no such program. Seoul National University had six cases, followed by Yonsei (four), and Catholic University of Korea (four). Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Sookmyung Women’s University each had three.

Of the total, 80 cases were science and engineering, with humanities studies accounting only for two cases.

The ministry requested each university submit explanations over whether the detected cases had irregularities including whether the authors met due requirements and made sufficient contributions to be named as such.

The ministry said admissions will be cancelled if any of the dissertations were used to help grant admission to universities.

“Naming children, who have made no contribution in the study, as name authors in a dissertation is a grave offence,” Education Minister Kim Sang-kon said.

“If any irregularities are confirmed, we will seek punitive measures according to principle.”

This is one of many university admissions frauds in Korea, where entering a good university is considered the sole education objective for children.

Last December, police reviewed admissions records of more than 200 universities over the past five years with a four-year curricula after four students were found to have been admitted due to lax reviews of government-issued certificates for the physically challenged.

One of them was admitted to Korea University and the other three to the University of Seoul.

The universities are required to voluntarily report any irregularities they were aware of by end of this month, or be subject to prosecution.

Students and their parents believe the university they attend determines the rest of their adult lives. The yearly held College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) is considered the most important priority.

Students who are not confident in getting high scores or do not want to risk everything on the once-in-a-year opportunity try to increase their chances of admissions into prestigious universities by applying for early decisions or other means, including fraud.

by Lee Kyung-min

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