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Education minister nominee grilled over alleged plagiarism

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Published : 2014-07-09 15:42
Updated : 2014-07-09 16:02

The nominee for education minister came under intense scrutiny Wednesday as opposition lawmakers grilled him over allegations of plagiarism and other ethical issues.

Kim Myung-soo, a professor at Korea National University of Education, was tapped by President Park Geun-hye last month to double as education minister and deputy prime minister for educational, social and cultural affairs.

The nominee has since come under growing pressure from opposition parties to withdraw his name amid allegations he plagiarized other people's work to write his theses.

Among other suspicions, Kim has been accused of plagiarizing four theses he wrote to gain promotion to associate or full professor. He has also been accused of using his students' dissertations to exaggerate his performance and having students write newspaper columns under his name and teach some of his classes.

Speaking at a parliamentary confirmation hearing Wednesday, the nominee said he has no plans to withdraw his name.

"(The theses) contain information that is widely available," he said. "I don't think that can be called plagiarism."

In South Korea, all nominees for Cabinet-level posts must undergo a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, but only the prime minister is subject to parliamentary approval.

Plagiarism has been a recurring issue during these hearings, with many nominees being accused of copying other people's works for their dissertations.

In 2012, then President Lee Myung-bak approved the appointment of Hyun Byung-chul as chief of the National Human Rights Commission for another term despite allegations of ethical lapses, including plagiarism.

Meanwhile, in 2000, then Education Minister Song Ja resigned three weeks after taking office amid allegations he plagiarized content for his books, among other controversies. (Yonhap)

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