JAPAN probe finds more universities discriminated against women.

A Japanese government probe has uncovered more cases of universities discriminating against  female applicants in an investigation prompted by a scandal at a Tokyo medical school.

The  education ministry launched  the investigation  into  81  public and  private medical schools after the  Tokyo Medical University  in August admitted it had systematically  altered the test scores of women to keep out female students.

After     initial investigation, the ministry   carried out field visits to  30 institutions to learn more about how they conducted entry exams.

''Inappropriate practices were discovered at  several universities,'' the ministry said in the interim report, without specifying  the number or naming the schools.

The report found evidence of schools using various methods to keep our female applicants and candidates taking the entrace test for the second or third time.

Some female  applicants were  rejected despite achieving scores that should have been sufficient for admission. In other cases, preference was given to the children of the alumni over those with higher test scores.

The ministry said there were no plans at present to punish universities involved, or even to make public those involved.

''We have chosen to name the establishment but we are asking them to provide explanations for their practices,''   Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama said at a press conference.

The report urged universities to end discrimination  ''so candidates can take their exam without worry.''   The final results of the investigation are to be published in December, with the ministry planning additional field visits.

A ministry official said the current probe covers medical schools, but......... ''the investigation would be expanded if inappropriate practices were uncovered at other establishments.''  [Agencies]


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