Cheating rampant on Korean language test in Southeast Asia

Cheating on the Korean language test is rampant in Southeast Asian countries, labor ministry officials said Tuesday. A total of 114 Indonesian test-takers were caught cheating on the test in June, according the ministry. There were 53 cases of someone else taking the test for the applicant and 49 cases of using cellphones to cheat.

The Labor Ministry took into account the possibility of organized cheating by cellphone and delayed release of test results originally scheduled for July 14. It also requested an investigation by the Indonesian government.

Foreigners seeking jobs in Korea are required to pass the Korean language test. Only successful testers are placed on the roster of jobseekers from which Korean employers can choose under the Employment Permit System of the Korean government, according to an official from the foreign workforce policy division at the Labor Ministry. They should obtain a minimum score of 80 out of 200 to be employed in Korean companies.

Human Resources Development Service of Korea, a governmental agency of human resources under the ministry, conducts the EPS-Korean Language Test in 15 countries, most of them in Southeast Asia, such as Philippines, Mongolia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

"We dispatch Koreans to supervise the test, but as their numbers are not large enough for appropriate test supervision, we employ locals as supervisors," said an official.

Other cases of misconduct in test rooms were discovered in Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. They included having someone else take the test, as well as using notes, mobile phones or fake IDs.

The Labor Ministry stopped conducting the test in Bangladesh after a test-taker was caught producing a fake ID last year. It demanded the Bangladeshi government come up with measures to prevent such cases.

The ministry also plans to bar test-takers found to have committed cheating from taking the test again.

It also will take measures to prevent cheating, including screening test-takers by matching their faces with ID cards and setting up a metal detector to detect those carrying cellphones.

As some cheating cases are caused by close relationships between local supervisors and test-takers, it will also assign supervisors randomly to any test rooms.

"We are requesting that the countries prepare some voluntary measures to prevent such incidents from happening again, such as improving administrative procedures in the long term," said Min Gil-su, director of foreign workforce policy division of the ministr

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