National

Nine medical schools in Japan rigged entrance exams to benefit men and relatives of alumni, ministry report says

Kyodo

Nine of Japan’s 81 medical schools have manipulated their entrance exams to favor men and relatives of alumni, the education ministry said Friday in a final report on its probe into university admission processes.

The nine had already admitted to misconduct since the ministry launched its probe in August, prompted by the revelation that Tokyo Medical University had discriminated against women and those who had already failed exams.

“It is deeply disappointing. I want the universities to make immediate and courteous responses regarding the situation of the applicants,” said education minister Masahiko Shibayama. The screening process for the next academic year has already begun.

The ministry will start preparing rules to ensure fairness in the entrance exams for the 2020 year and beyond.

The nine schools include Tokyo Medical University, Juntendo University, Showa University and Nihon University.

The remaining universities are Kobe University, Kitasato University, Iwate Medical University, Kanazawa Medical University and Fukuoka University.

Separate from the nine, the ministry also said that St. Marianna University School of Medicine is suspected of having favored male and first-time applicants based on past records, but the school on Wednesday denied having committed any misconduct.

St. Marianna University was instructed by the ministry to set up a third-party committee to check the fairness of its admission process, but the school said it has no plans to do so.

The ministry’s final report also revealed that more than 10 universities had committed dubious acts such as leaving memos on applications from relatives of alumni or teachers taking interview exams, and making lists of applicants recommended by the alumni association or senior university officials.

Those schools were requested by the ministry to correct their practices.

The ministry also called on each university to review the admission process for faculties other than medical schools.

The series of exam-rigging revelations from the universities has caused confusion among examinees, as some universities have reduced the number of applicants they will accept for the next school year to admit those who had been rejected in the past due to improper practices.

“It is unfair that people who are going to take the upcoming exam like us will be negatively affected by past manipulations,” said a 19-year-old male student at a cram school in Nagoya who plans to take exams for several universities that admitted to rigging test scores.

“It’s too late to change schools to apply to because I’ve been studying with strategies for each university’s entrance exam,” the student said. “I wanted the ministry to disclose the probe results much earlier.”