It is said that the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea rejected the claim for public audit for the establishment of Saint Johnsbury Academy Jeju (SJA Jeju) in Jeju Islad. SJA is the fourth international school to open in Jeju Global Education City.
Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education said that a recent report about its helter-skelter approach to found SJA Jeju is not true during the press conference held at the pressroom on July 25.
According to the report on the 22nd, SJA, an international school to be injected 140 billion won (US$122.97 million) of taxpayer money, is an ordinary private school in the country side of Vermont State, the U.S., but it is attracting students with false and exaggerated advertising that it is a prestigious school. SJA is also not listed in the Boarding School Review, a representative academic performance evaluation agency in the U.S., and the average SAT score of its high school students as of 2014 stood at 1530, far below 1800 of the average score of private schools in the U.S. In addition, it is attracting students with the curriculum which does not exist in the school in the U.S. The report also raised a question about the approval process of the school establishment. It pointed out that SJA submitted the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) without the signatures of the board members to Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education but it received approval of the establishment. The report also raised a question whether the school violated the statute in the U.S. in the process of founding. The Private School Law in the U.S. bans board members of a school from making personal gain through commercial business related to the school.
In regard to the report about signing the CVA without approval of the board members of SJA in the U.S., Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) said, “The agreement was signed after reporting the major procedure of the SJA establishment in Jeju to the board members and receiving approval from them. Haewul Co., the corporation to operate international schools, got the signatures of the board members to reconfirm the CVA and submitted it to the Education Office by the due date in the investigation process at the request of the review committee.”
The provincial education office also said, “Since the review committee asked to get the signatures of the majority of SJA board members for approval to confirm they are aware of the agreement, and Haewul submitted the notarized signatures of the SJA board members in the U.S. on May 30.”
In regard to the report that SJA is not a prestigious school in the U.S., JDC said, “It is not right to determine that the school is prestigious or not based on some private ranking sites and voucher systems. SJA is a private school with tradition and has many strengths. Graduates from SJA Jeju will be allowed same honor, privileges, networks and alumni status with graduates of SJA in the U.S.”
The report said SJA Jeju specified that it would provide the same curriculum with the SJA in the USA in the establishment plan but it would offer kindergarten, elementary and secondary education unlike the one in the U.S. Regarding to this, JDC said, “SJA has decided to expand the school courses by reflecting the actual needs in Korea in order to meet the aim of creating the English education city to absorb young students who go abroad to learn English.”