By Kim Jae-won
The Ministry of Education said Monday that some "foreign schools" are ignoring an order by the government to dismiss students who were admitted illegally.
About half of the students who were involved in admission fraud at such schools last year are still enrolled in the institutions in question, according to a report by the ministry to the National Assembly.
Rep. Kim Ki-sik of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) attributed this to the absence of a legal mechanism to enforce the ministry's order regarding enrollment.
A press release by Kim's office said 157 students, or 46 percent of the 341 students who illegally gained admission to foreign schools in 2012, have not been removed.
Most of them were disqualified because they failed to meet the criterion of residing overseas for three years or more.
In terms of the number of illegal students, the Seoul-based French school Lycee International Xavier topped the list with 60, followed by Euijeongbu Overseas Chinese Elementary School in Gyeonggi Province with 54 and the Overseas Chinese Elementary School Busan Korea with 41.
Busan International Foreign School ordered one student to leave the school, but his parents filed a complaint with a district court. Until the court rules on the case, the boy will remain enrolled.
Seoul-based Hanseong Overseas Chinese Secondary School also suspended the dismissal of one student until March next year when he can take a state test to transfer to another school.
Officials from the foreign schools were not available for comment.
"It is appropriate to cancel the enrollment of students who were admitted illegally. However, many of those unqualified still attend the school because there are no clear regulations," said the lawmaker in his press release.
Rep. Kim said the ministry sought to revise the Foreign School Law by inserting a clause to punish schools which do not follow orders, but failed to do so due to opposition from the Regulatory Reform Committee (RRC).
The RRC is a state-run agency under the wing of the Prime Minister's Office which examines government regulations.
The lawmaker accused the committee of favoring rich and powerful people, and representing the interests of corporations and chaebol owners while turning their backs on ordinary people. Many of the students' parents were businesspeople, doctors and professors among others.
"Six commissioners of the 13-member committee had previously worked as outside directors of corporations and financial companies. They are exposed to the danger of conflict of interest," Kim said.