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Universities caught lying about graduates’ employment

A number of local universities have been falsifying graduate employment data to raise funds and attract students, according to a government investigation.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced Thursday after a two-month investigation that it found 28 universities across the country falsely reported the employment rate for their graduates.

The ministry report came as an increasing number of universities in the country face declining student enrollment and tightened budgets.

“The graduate employment rate is an important indicator when we value universities. So some of them tried to fake the numbers in order receive funds from the government,” an official from the ministry said.

The ministry currently funds universities based on an annual evaluation, and the graduate employment rate is one of the most important points of the report, he added.

According to the ministry’s investigation, a university in Gyeonggi Province manipulated the employment number by registering 63 unemployed graduates only on paper at 13 different firms.

A university in North Gyeongsang Province was also found to have intentionally put 52 unemployed graduates as employed and also paid a total of 56.3 million won to 14 firms to cover up the insurance fee of the “fake employees.”

Another university in Gyeonggi Province also falsely registered 51 students as employers of four different companies run by its professors.

The ministry said this time they investigated only 32 universities that show the graduate employment numbers in 2011 were far higher than a year earlier, suggesting that there could be more universities making the false data.

“Because of the time limit, we selected only 32 universities, but we’ll continue to investigate other universities,” he said.

The ministry has warned the 28 universities to correct the data and is also considering possible punishments for their misbehavior.

Meanwhile, some observers also criticize the government’s current method of evaluating universities.

“The ministry only sees the figure, the employment rate and gives incentives without considering the different circumstance of each university. I think it’s wrong,” an official from a university in Seoul said.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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