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[Opinion] The Film Industry and the Undergraduate Admission System

[Opinion] The Film Industry and the Undergraduate Admission System

Posted February. 13, 2005 23:03,   


One popular online quiz that hardly makes sense asks you to find the common feature in seemingly disparate pairs such as a professor and a beggar, and a married woman and a gangster. The answers to popular online quizzes are often witty and philosophical in their own ways. After all, many distinctions in the world are subjective. Therefore, following a new ingenious system of classification, one can put a professor and a beggar, and a married woman and a gangster, into the same category, respectively.

In the early 1960s, the government began changing the undergraduate admission system by shifting the entrance exams administered by each university or college to a type of nationwide entrance exam. Afterwards, over a 40-year period, the government has experimented with virtually every method, making changes to the system. Still, the admission system is being blamed for the ruinous primary and secondary education and the lower quality of university education. Some noisily call upon the Education Ministry to stop being engaged in taking care of the undergraduate admission system and to wholly leave it at each school’s discretion.

It was in the mid 1980s when the U.S. unbolted the gate of the Korean film industry with its own trade act provision, Super 301. It was 10 years before the Uruguay Round went into action, which made the opening the first case of its type among Korean industries protected with layers of regulation. Since the military coup in March 16, 1961, for about 20 years up until the movie industry’s opening, the law on the film industry had seen seven revisions and the ordinances 20 changes. One can guess that almost every conceivable thing had been tried to revive the industry. Nevertheless, the industry continued deteriorating. Under such circumstances, Korea’s film industry had been thrown into a free-competition market with no governmental protection. And everyone was in despair that the industry would soon wither away. Then, in the early 1990s, the private sector provided a new driving force for the industry. It was “A Newlywed’s Story” produced by Shincine that foretold the revival of Korea’s cinema industry.

What is a common point between the film industry and the undergraduate admission system? If there is, it is that both can stay afloat if the government umbilical cord is broken. One downright death leads to a healthy revival. When one casts away a uniform mentality, flowers come in various types and colors. In short, this metaphor means that a laissez-faire approach can bring better results. But only if one exercises patience.

Park Myeong-jin, Guest Editorial Writer, Professor of Communications at Seoul National University, mjinpark@snu.ac.kr