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[Editorial] College Entrance System Needs Fundamental Changes

[Editorial] College Entrance System Needs Fundamental Changes

Posted November. 30, 2004 22:25,   


The cheating incidents regarding the College Scholastic Ability Tests did not happen in Gwangju only. The unbelievable proved to be true. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development stated that the university admission schedules would not be disrupted, but this does not mean the investigation will be ended hastily. A thorough probe should be undertaken so as to leave no suspicions unchecked even at the cost of delaying the admission schedules. In particular, a sense of responsibility should be stressed in government offices by severely reprimanding the supervisory office that failed to prevent the incidents even when “forewarned” through the internet.

More important is whether the CSAT can be maintained when it has lost not only the ability to differentiate between students’ abilities but also all credibility. The problems of the university entrance system are at the center of this issue. The fact that a considerable number of students were involved in cheating through cell phones around the nation shows that there is a large loophole in the system itself. Regardless of the solutions introduced such as diverse exam papers and a ban on cell phones, the CSAT system will continue to breed other kinds of “criminals.” A fundamental change in the college entrance system should be implemented before all our children become potential criminals.

Of course this does not mean there is nothing wrong with the acts of cheating. However, it is also not right for a nation to hold only a standardized, objective test once a year and leave universities no choice but to select new students through that test. We cannot implement an unreasonable system and then blame the students’ lack of morality.

It has become clear that the CSAT cannot be left as it is. The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations and the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union are also demanding that the CSAT be changed into a qualification test. Nonetheless, we cannot depend solely on the high school grade reports as they too have long been distorted.

The fundamental solution is clear. In the case of private schools, opposed to public schools, the right to select students should be returned to the schools. The government should focus on raising the quality of education in public schools dramatically and give private schools autonomy and responsibility in their education. Education authorities must realize that unreasonable policies such as the “ban of individual university tests” cannot be maintained any longer.