Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education plans to permanently remove hagwon operators from the industry when they are found to have leaked U.S. Scholastic Aptitude Test questions, officials said Sunday.
The measures come as the public prosecutors investigate allegations that 12 local hagwon, or private institutions leaked SAT questions.
The College Board, which organizes the U.S. university entrance examination, canceled the test scheduled to take place in Korea in May. In addition, the board has prohibited some Korean students from taking the test.
The Seoul education office will restrict new SAT hagwon from registering while the prosecutors’ investigation is ongoing, and introduce measures to prevent hagwon operators found guilty of related activities from opening new institutions.
Starting Monday, the education office also will conduct a special five-day audit on the 12 hagwon suspected of leaking SAT questions ahead of the examination.
All 63 registered SAT hagwon, all of which are located in the affluent Gangnam area of Seoul, will be audited between June and August, when large numbers of students studying abroad return home.
The authorities will also close down SAT cram schools operating without registrations and place notices of their illegal status on their premises.
For future incidents of this kind, the Seoul education office will request law enforcement authorities to conduct investigations when allegations are raised that SAT questions have been leaked by hagwon.
In addition, hagwon whose fees are higher than the legal limit will be subjected to tax audits.
As part of the plans, the education office will hold a training session of SAT hagwon operators on Tuesday where the attendants will be required to declare in writing that they will not use leaked questions.
Hagwon whose chiefs do not attend the event will be reviewed for possible violations of laws regarding such institutions.
The Seoul education office suspended two hagwon and fined six after conducting an audit between May 8 and 10 following the cancellation of the test that month.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)