New education minister defends his thesis, denies plagiarism

Posted on : 2006-08-01 19:47 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST

In face of mounting pressure to resign over his thesis scandal, the country's new education minister assumed the defensive Tuesday, denying allegations of plagiarism and accusing the media of giving false reports.

At the hearing of the parliament's education committee, Kim Byong-joon said his thesis on urban redevelopment published in 1987 did not copy his pupil's, which some media have reported to be the original work that Kim had presented as his own.

Since his appointment on July 21, the education minister has encountered strong pressure to step down due to the controversy over research papers he published while working at Seoul's Kookmin University. He allegedly plagiarized a paper by his pupil, who was identified only by his family name Shin, and also copied his own paper to make a new one. Kim served as chief presidential secretary for national policy to President Roh Moo-hyun before being moved to the Cabinet post.

One of his theses being questioned "was published in a winter academic conference of the Korean Association for Public Administration in December 1987, which was long before Mr. Shin's thesis was completed," Kim said.

He explained the repeated publication of his thesis by the association's bulletin the following year may have caused the allegations of plagiarism.

Concerning the controversy that he copied his own thesis to make a new one, he said such practice was customary and allowed under the rules of publishers.

Over the survey data that he allegedly borrowed from his pupil's work, he acknowledged and said they had made an agreement that he would use the data in return for his assistance to make the questionnaire. Such exchanges of statistics were a common practice between researchers at that time, he said.

Contrary to public and media expectations, however, Kim refused to resign voluntarily after the National Assembly session.

"I have no intention to step down," he told reporters on leaving the National Assembly after the session. "I came here to unveil the truth."

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae also issued a brief statement reiterating its position not to dismiss the education minister.

"Today's Assembly session was an important opportunity to objectively examine a series of suspicions (regarding the education minister). We remain unchanged in our position that the priority should be put on ascertaining the truth behind the suspicions," the statement said.
Seoul, Aug. 1 (Yonhap News)

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