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Will the Period to Train Doctors Be Divided into Two?

Posted June. 06, 2005 06:23,   


Only four universities--Kangwon National University, Chonnam National University, Cheju National University and Chungnam National University—additionally applied for the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development’s conversion to medical and dental specializing graduate schools.

Therefore it is expected that the MOE’s plans to convert all medical and dental schools into graduate schools after 2010 will inevitably be set back.

Conversion Timetable–

A total of 14 out of 41 medical schools will be turned into graduate schools until 2009, while six out of 11 dental schools will follow the same steps.

Kangwon and Cheju University are planning to stop admitting new med school students in 2006, and pick undergraduate graduates as freshmen for their medical graduate school in 2008, while Chungnam and Chonnam University plan to stop accepting new medical students in 2007 and convert its program into a special graduate school in 2009.

Meanwhile, no additional universities have applied for conversion into a dental graduate school.

Universities Are Testing Waters-

Universities such as Seoul National University are arguing that converting into graduate schools does not greatly help a university’s research abilities and has the side effect of stretching the period to train doctors. Nevertheless, the MOE views that these universities are not that much attracted to the graduate school plans because they can receive outstanding students with the current six-year medical undergraduate school system.

Many universities are still discussing whether or not they will convert into medical or dental graduate schools, but they have yet to reach a conclusion.

Chung-Ang University decided to change into medical school into a medical graduate school, but has not yet decided on a specific time. The Catholic University of Korea is still thinking about the issue. As for Sungkyunkwan University, it is reported that it has internally decided not to convert.

Will There be a Schism in the Training of Doctors? -

As SNU, Korea University, and Yonsei University have stated that they will adhere to their current system, so for a while, medical graduate schools (four-year undergraduate plus four-year graduate school) and medical schools (two years of preparatory courses and four of regular courses) will co-exist.

The MOE is reviewing plans to compulsively convert schools into medical and dental graduate schools until 2010 through amendments in relevant laws or reducing the period of graduate school.

The MOE has also announced it will exclude universities that do not convert from the “Brain Korea 21” project and give disadvantages when allowing foundation of law schools. Nevertheless, in reality, “Brain Korea 21” will find it difficult to succeed without the cooperation of these schools, so there will not be an easy way to achieve success in the project.

On the other hand, on June 5, the National Council of Medical Professors made a statement demanding the MOE guarantee and respect university decisions on converting into medical graduate schools and withdraw plans to link the medical school issue with approval to establish law schools.

Seong-ChulHong Jin-KyunKil sungchul@donga.com leon@donga.com