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Korea to tighten measures to verify foreign degrees

The government will adopt stricter measures to verify overseas academic diplomas and tighten its monitoring of universities hiring staff with such qualifications.

The state-run National Research Foundation of Korea will oversee verification while the Korea Education and Research Information Service will seek to display the full text of the thesis for all overseas degrees acquired by Koreans, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Thursday.

Currently, the Korean Council for University Education, a private group of university presidents, is responsible for the verification. But the subjects are limited to universities in English-speaking seven countries. Since more people graduate from universities outside those countries ― a little less than half of the overseas degrees are from Asian countries ― and seek career opportunities in Korea, there have been growing demands for confirmations on other countries, the ministry said.

Establishing a verification tool for all countries will be completed by 2013. The administration will monitor whether universities have been using the service in recruitment.

The display of the full text of thesis is a step forward from the current system of posting either the titles or abstracts. Full texts are rarely open to public.

The moves came as fabrications or allegations of forged overseas degrees have repeatedly irked the public over the past several years.

In 2007, former Dongkuk University professor and art director Shin Jeong-ah was convicted of fabricating a doctoral degree from Yale University. Last year a group of Internet users accused hip-hop artist Tablo of having forged his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University in California. He later took a broadcasting program crew to Stanford’s campus to prove his academic career.

By Bae Ji-sook (
Korea Herald Youtube