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High school censored for writing fake recommendation

Date Posted: 2003-10-03

A high school in Okinawa prefecture was sent a letter of censure for writing a letter highly recommending that one of its students be admitted to enter the science department at the University of the Ryukyus, even though the student had not taken even one class in science while in high school.

The science department accepts only 26 students annually, and high schools compete fiercely to get their students accepted to study at the prestigious department. Normally, there are two ways to gain entrance to the university. One is through a two-part entrance exam; the other is to have a letter of recommendation from the high school in which case the second part of the entrance test can be waived at the discretion of the university.

In this particular case, university officials decided to require the student to take an oral science test despite of the letter of recommendation from the high school. The student then completely failed the test and further inquiry showed that the student had not even taken science classes while in high school. The student was disqualified.

University officials say that to write a letter of recommendation is tempting to high schools as they compete fiercely for students among the shrinking pool of students. The ability of a high school to get its graduating students enrolled in a prestigious university is the key to attracting students who often compete for the entrance from the age of six.

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