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Confusion Spreads on “Consideration of High-School Disparity of Academic Levels”

Confusion Spreads on “Consideration of High-School Disparity of Academic Levels”

Posted October. 10, 2004 23:23,   


Friday’s Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development’s announcement that some major private universities applied a high school ranking system on this year’s spring semester admissions has fanned society’s differences on admissions practices and could impact fall- semester admissions as well as broader education policy.

The issues have been hotly debated on the Internet, where opinions about “Reflecting the existing disparity of academic levels” and “Clear, unlawful discrimination” are expressed by people at all levels, from high school teachers to students and their parents.

From home pages to university bulletin boards, there is a flood of criticism such as “Not able to go to a prestigious university because you don’t live in the Gangnam area is a new type of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, there were opinions such as “Ignoring the disparity of academic levels that actually exist in the society runs counter to equality. It is absolutely the university’s authority to decide which criteria they will apply on admitting students.”

All universities are pondering how to apply the new college-entrance system started on November 1, and are focused on how events will unfold.

Some people estimate the ratio of successful applicants of students from special-purpose high schools and who live in the Gangnam area, relatively more advantageous in the admission procedure, will drop.

A university-related official in Seoul said, “The universities have no choice but to restrain from applying a high-school ranking system on their admissions. During the fall-semester admission process, students from special-purpose high schools and Gangnam area could be affected.”

During admission for the fall semester, 183 universities nationwide will select 161,560 students, comprising 40.8 percent of total student recruitment.

While the Ministry of Education is planning to come up with a new college-entrance system starting in 2008 by mid-October, the teachers association and civil groups demanded that the government delay the announcement and discuss the issue from square one. The National Association of Parents for Cham Education (NAPRE), demanding a new proposal for the college entrance system, began a fasting strike on October 5.

The Ministry of Education stated that, “We will keep an eye on progress during this week and then come up with a new proposal. However, there won’t be drastic changes made on the previous revised proposal.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com