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Private medical schools in Japan said to tamper with women’s entrance exam scores

The Yomiuri Shimbun A survey conducted by the education ministry has uncovered purported irregularities in the entrance exam scores for certain private universities with schools of medicine, including Juntendo University in Tokyo and another in the Kanto region, according to sources.

The survey was conducted in response to Tokyo Medical University’s suppression of general entrance exam pass rates for women applying to its school of medicine.

The implicated universities allegedly influenced whether certain applicants passed or failed the exams based on sex or the number of years male applicants spent preparing for entrance exams after graduating high school, the sources said.

At a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on Friday, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Masahiko Shibayama clarified that multiple private universities had allegedly tampered with applicants’ exam scores.

“[These universities] were found to have unreasonably created variances [in test scores] after the ministry objectively reviewed the survey results,” Shibayama said. “I want them to publicly explain the context of these irregularities on their own volition.”

Shibayama did not announce the names of the implicated universities at the press conference.

Following the revelations about Tokyo Medical University, the ministry began a survey in August of 81 universities nationwide with schools of medicine.

According to survey results released in September, the average pass rate over the last six years was higher for men than women at 63 universities, or about 80 percent of all schools surveyed. All universities surveyed except for Tokyo Medical University denied the use of improper screening practices.

The ministry subsequently visited and conducted detailed interviews of officials at about 30 universities with low pass rates for women. As a result, the ministry uncovered possible irregularities related to entrance exam scores at multiple private universities.

According to the sources, materials were found suggesting that universities discriminated against female applicants or male applicants who spent years preparing for the entrance exams after completing high school, or otherwise offered preferential treatment to specific applicants.

Juntendo University was among the universities suspected of irregularities, along with a private university in the Kanto region, the sources said.

The average pass rate for Juntendo University over the past six years was 9.2 percent for men and 5.5 percent for women. The difference in male and female pass rates at Juntendo was the largest among the universities surveyed.

The ministry is expected to expand the scope of its interviews to all universities from its initial survey and compile a final report within the year after announcing its interim findings in October.

Juntendo University’s public relations division told The Yomiuri Shimbun that it would verify the facts internally.

The public relations division of the private university in Kanto replied that it strictly selects applicants based on application guidelines, and denied altering the scores of applicants based on sex or the number of years applicants spent studying for the entrance exam after graduating from high school.

Tokyo Medical University was found to have uniformly lowered the test scores of female applicants to its school of medicine as well as male applicants who spent three or more years studying for the general entrance exam after completing high school. In 2017 and 2018, the university also raised the test scores of 19 applicants designated for preferential treatment by eight to 49 points.Speech

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