National

Nihon University admits nepotism in entrance exams

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Nihon University on Wednesday owned up to nepotism in their admissions process, adding to the growing number of medical schools known to have been treating their applicants unfairly.

“We gave preferences to some applicants whose parents graduated from our school, in the belief they were more likely to enroll in our school and to contribute to the continuity of the medical institutions affiliated to the university,” said Tadatoshi Takayama, head of the university’s school of medicine, before reporters at a news conference held Wednesday in Tokyo.

Scholars involved in the school’s admission process revealed that in the past two years they gave preference to 10 applicants whose parents had graduated from the same medical school, ignoring scores from the entrance tests.

Eight students admitted in 2017 and 2018, respectively, were selected from the waiting list at the expense of another 10 students who had also performed well in the general tests.

“We would like to express our sincere apology to all applicants, students currently attending our school and the rest of the society,” Takayama said.

“As the education ministry pointed out we had improper cases, and we have lost trust in our practices,” he added.

Takayama attended the news conference together with two other selection committee members and referred to the list of alumni, which is issued every year.

The malpractice at Nihon University was discovered in an investigation ordered by the education ministry.

Takayama explained that the ministry’s investigation had reminded him the conduct was inappropriate.

The university said it would now allow in examinees who had previously been rejected, if they still wish to enter the school, and will also consider compensating students denied admission unfairly. The institution also said that from next year it would clarify the selection process starting from the waiting list, but that it had not yet decided whether to further investigate practices in previous years.

The representatives did reveal, however, that in 2016, another eight students were admitted to the school of medicine through the same process as other children of Nihon University’s graduates.

The university became the ninth education institution proven to have manipulated scores in entrance exams.

The scholars denied any form of discrimination against women but said the average ratio of successful male applicants to female stood at 1.49.

The revelation follows a report disclosed Monday by a third-party committee which found that Juntendo University treated applicants, mostly women, unfairly during its medical school’s entrance examinations during the 2017 and 2018 academic years.

According to the report, the university had raised the bar for women in entrance exams to “narrow the gap with male students” in interviews, in which women generally excelled over men in communication abilities as they tend to be more mature than their male peers.

Since August, when it came to light that Tokyo Medical University had for years doctored the test scores of female applicants to admit fewer women, the education ministry surveyed 81 medical schools on their practices. Medical schools that have admitted to unfair treatment also include Tokyo’s Showa University, Fukuoka University, and Kobe University.

The ministry plans to disclose their latest findings concerning the gender gap by the end of the year.