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A Look into Changing the University Entrance Exam into a Qualifying Exam

A Look into Changing the University Entrance Exam into a Qualifying Exam

Posted March. 07, 2003 22:31,   


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education & Human Resources Development, Yoon Deok-hong, clarified on Friday that he will closely examine plans for changing the college entrance examination system to just a qualifying examination in order to prevent the negative impact extracurricular activities have on high school education, thus attracting public interest as to whether this plan will come to fruition.

“One of the primary reasons for the unreliability of high school education is caused by extracurricular activities which interfere with preparations for the college entrance examination. It is necessary to take a look at changing the college entrance examination as a qualifying examination and lower its influence on the college entrance process,” stated Deputy Prime Minister Yoon at a press gathering after his inauguration ceremony.

“I would like to introduce the possibility of changing the current entrance examination to a qualifying exam thus making it pass-or-fail in order to reduce the burden of preparation as well as changing the college entrance process to a process for selection based on academic grades from high school,” he added.

“By reducing the influence of entrance examination results along with increasing the influence of school grades, high school students might be able to reduce their extracurricular study activities. This would enable an educational policy that reduces the burden of studying during the elementary, middle and high school years and also increases study loads during university to strengthen competitiveness,” he said.

Regarding the actual period of change, he emphasized, “The college entrance program for the years 2004 and 2005 already have been planned thus are difficult to change. This idea must be carefully examined in the long term.”

This idea of changing the entrance examination into a qualifying exam has been recommended by the Presidential Transition Committee to the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development in order to decrease students’ burden when preparing for entrance into university.

In this case, the college entrance examination, like the ‘preliminary examination’ in the past, can be utilized as a method of deciding the qualifications of college applicants, thus the plan of selecting freshmen through the departments or examinations prepared by separate institutions will be emphasized more.

However, since colleges are demanding allowance for their own examinations with mistrust in their departments as well as the actuality of the current entrance examination, many are concerned that the restoration of various college examinations along with the changing of the entrance examination as a qualifying exam may cause another shift towards extracurricular activities.

In response to this, administrators in the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development clarified, “We need to have at least three years advance notice to change the college entrance examination system therefore it is a plan that demands careful examinations from different sides. It is realistically impossible to change the system right away.”

On the other side, regarding some reports of making Seoul National University a non-profit foundation, Deputy Prime Minister Yoon explained, “It was only my personal opinion as a professor based on examples in other countries before I was appointed Deputy Prime Minister. I was merely stating that it the possibility could be raised if problems at Seoul National University and other national universities worsen.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com