Prosecutors in Incheon are or will be asking for prison time for 47 schools school parents indicted on charges of illegally entering their children into international schools using forged documents such as fake passports.
Many of the parents being investigated are from Korea’s elite, including the daughter-in-law of a jaebeol family and the niece-in-law of a prime minister.
Experts think prosecutors will have a hard time getting prison sentences, though, since many of the suspects are first-time offenders and it’s hard to prove intent.
Given the public anger generated by this incident regarding the rich’s antisocial and unethical behavior, however, some experts think it’s possible the parents will be punished sternly.
The court will reportedly sentence the suspects as a group once arguments have concluded.
Some people seem to think that Seoul has too many international schools:
But critics complain the metropolitan area is already overcrowded with schools with classes run in English or other languages, and what foreign investors need is not easier access to mediocre education, but high quality courses at more affordable rates.
“I don’t think that Seoul has a shortage of international schools,” an expat who has lived here for three years with two school-age children said.
“But it should be noted that many are struggling to invite suitably qualified teachers like those that are available back home.”
The American, who refused to be named, added some small- and mid-sized schools are rudimentary in their campus environment.
Seoul City doesn’t think so, though:
A Seoul official admitted the concern that the city is overcrowded with such schools, but stressed it was not negative in the long run.
“At the moment, people may see it as overcrowded. But it’s sort of a rite of passage to become more attractive to foreign investors,” said Jang Young-min, deputy director of the city’s competitiveness policy division.
“As proven by surveys, foreign investors see the capital as a lucrative market but the lack of facilities to educate their children is making them reluctant to make forays into Seoul. It’s an investment for a bigger return.”
As I’ve said before, I don’t think the issue of international schools will ever be financially relevant to me, but I’m still curious: