Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Sunday that it found multiple cases of admissions fraud by Hana Academy Seoul in a special investigation of the school.
According to the SMOE, the academy rigged the admissions tests results from 2011 to 2013 to allow more boys to enter in a bid to retain an even male-to-female ratio. The officials said some 90 students who were below the cutoff grade were admitted to the school as a result.
The SMOE decided to file charges with the prosecution against the school officials ― including the school’s chairman of the board Kim Seung-yu, a former chairman of Hana Financial Group ― in violation of the law on private education institutes.
The special probe also found HAS guilty of violating the law in its hiring process, along with attempting to cover up a case of school violence that occurred in 2011. The academy also allegedly inked several illegal deals with an enterprise established by Hana Group officials.
Korean law states that a deal worth 50 million won or more commissioned by a private education institute must go through a public bidding process, a rule the SMOE says the school violated multiple times.
HAS is an autonomous private high school founded by Hana Financial Group in 2010. Autonomous private high schools are elite schools granted more leeway in admissions and curriculum in exchange for lower government subsidies.
The school came under fire after a revelation by one of its teachers in August that it conducted admissions fraud under the direction of its principal. The SMOE launched a special investigation the following month into this claim.
HAS, however, denied all charges and said it is pursuing legal action against the SMOE on what it claimed was “a biased probe.”
By Yoon Min-sik