Seoul’s education office said Monday that it would cancel the high school credentials of Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of President Park Geun-hye’s confidante Choi Soon-sil, over revelations the school gave her special treatment in attendance and grading.
After an inspection into Sunhwa Art School and Chungdam High School, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said it would ask the prosecution to launch an investigation into Chung, her mother and 10 faculty members involved in the scandal.
|Chung Yoo-ra (Yonhap)|
The 19-year-old dressage rider Chung is currently in Germany. It is not yet known when she will be brought in for questioning.
According to the ministry’s findings, Chung was absent from the school for 141 days of her senior year, but was still marked present, with the excuse that she was engaged in training or competition, upon official documents issued by the Korea Equestrian Federation.
However, of the 141 days she was absent, for 105 of them she attended neither training nor competition.
Under the current school act, a student is required to attend at least 129 of 193 days to graduate from middle and high school.
The education office said it would also revise her attendance and academic records and rescind awards she won during her school years.
The move came after Ewha Womans University announced Friday that it would expel Chung and ban her re-admission to the school permanently over a series of special treatment given to her, from the admission procedure to academic records.
With her admission into Ewha Womans University and high school graduation canceled, she would end up with just a middle school diploma.
Despite irregularities found during her middle school years, her graduation from Sunhwa Art School cannot be revoked because it is mandatory in South Korea for the government to offer middle school education, the education office said.
Authorities also plan to tighten monitoring on attendance and academic records of student athletes and strengthen restrictions on the absences of student athletes.
From now on, student athletes will not be allowed to be absent from more than a third of classes. When they participate in long-term training, they should notify not only their school, but also the education office, in advance.
Chung’s mother Choi, who holds no government post, is accused of meddling in state affairs, coercing donations from conglomerates and peddling influence in the education and sports sectors to get her daughter special treatment through her ties to the embattled president.
The inspection found she had offered kickbacks to teachers, verbally abused Chung’s teachers and threatened to have them fired. At the time, she was the wife of Jeong Yoon-hoe, who was then a presidential aide.
By Ock Hyun-ju (email@example.com)