Top Busan educator booked for bribery
By Yi Whan-woo
Busan’s education chief was booked Monday on charges of taking bribes from two nursery school principals.
Police claim that Lim Hea-kyung, 64, superintendent of the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education, took three custom-made items of clothing worth 2 million won ($1,725) in total from the two last year in return for favors.
Lim admitted that she received the clothes in April 2011, but added that they were “presents.”
According to police, Lim gave permission for one of the principals to increase the number of classes at his nursery school from 13 to 16 to accept more students.
The top educator refuted the claims.
“I did not know about the case until police took me in 14 hours of questioning on Saturday,” she said.
The Busan education office supported Lim claiming she does not have the right to allow the increase.
“The decision was made by one of our branch offices in accordance with the regulations. Moreover, such a change was believed to have been be made in 2010, a year before Lim received the presents,” an official said.
Lim also allegedly recommended that the Ministry of the Education, Science and Technology present an honorary teaching award to the director of the other institution on May 15, or Teachers’ Day.
The top educator admitted that she made the proposal to the ministry, however, she added the recommendation was made in March 2011, a month before she received the clothes.
Lim has stressed the importance of integrity as a top priority for educators ever since she took office in 2010. A number of citizens joined an emergency committee that called for Lim to step down immediately, criticizing her as a “hypocrite.”
“She is disgraceful,” said a committee member.
“She has repeatedly said every educator should be a good example for students, and look what she has done. She doesn’t deserve to maintain her post and we hope that she is punished under the law.”