Published : 2013-01-30 20:24
Updated : 2013-01-30 20:24
It is deplorable that a provincial college was found to have bribed high school teachers to attract more entrants. According to a recent announcement by the prosecution, the college in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, gave 228 million won ($210,000) to 48 teachers for three years since 2008 in return for guiding their students to attend it. The college paid 200,000 won for each entrant, and one teacher was accused of having received 47.8 million won for sending 239 students.
Education officials say the corruptive practice has permeated other schools and teachers. In a parliamentary audit in 2010, a university in Gyeonggi Province was disclosed to have arranged 13 overseas trips for high school teachers under the pretext of holding workshops.
The corrupt deals between college officials, including professors, and high school teachers, who are required to meet strict ethical standards, should be subject to stern punishment. Teachers found to have dealt in the future of their students in return for money must be evicted from their post.
The case involving the college in Pohang has raised the need for accelerating work on restructuring institutions of higher learning. Since the late 1990s, universities and colleges, especially those in provincial areas, have had increasing difficulty recruiting freshmen. For years to come, it is expected to become harder to fill their enrollment as the number of high school graduates will continue to decline in the aftermath of the low birthrate.
According to figures from the Education Ministry, the enrollment rate remains below 90 percent at 77 of the 350 universities and colleges across the country. Many provincial schools have used illegal means ― such as forcing employees and their family members to be admitted on paper with full scholarship ― to meet the registration standards needed to receive support from state coffers.
The Education Ministry has shut down five colleges since it began restructuring work in 2011. It should speed up the pace to eradiate problems with substandard universities and prevent taxpayers’ money from being squandered to keep them afloat. Under these circumstances, questions can be raised about the wisdom of spending trillions of won additionally to help cover college tuition fees. Consideration should be given to making the additional expenditure after or in step with college restructuring.