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Ministry cracks down on illegal overseas study programs

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has filed a complaint with the prosecution against 12 private agencies involved in illegal overseas study programs.

The accused agencies have been luring students who seek to obtain an overseas degree by allowing them to transfer to foreign colleges without requiring tests, the ministry said Sunday.

Under their special admission programs, students study English for one or two years in local colleges and transfer as second or third-year students to foreign colleges in the United States, according to the ministry.

Reports said the agencies have operated the program in cooperation with 19 Korean universities, including Chung-Ang University and Sogang University.

The ministry said the program breached the education law because the agencies are not qualified to teach students.

According to the current law, students at Korean schools can earn foreign diplomas through “authorized” dual or joint degree programs.

But unlike the legitimate courses, the illegal programs allow students without registering at local universities for relevant domestic degrees to study at foreign colleges, the ministry said.

“The agencies have no right to teach students, but they made students pay between 10 million and 20 million won ($9,400-$18,800) for a one year course here, misrepresenting them as part of the foreign degree course,” an official from the ministry said.

The ministry said it had already asked Korean schools operating the illegal programs in connection with the agencies to stop recruiting students.

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