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Increasing Competition in Entering High-ranked Universities

Increasing Competition in Entering High-ranked Universities

Posted July. 05, 2005 02:28,   


Nationwide, 10 national universities will be merged into five pairs, including the unification of Chonnam National University and Yosu National University. About 10 private universities plan to downsize through integrating with colleges that belong to the same foundation.

In addition, seven major universities located in capital area, including Korea University, Yonsei University, and Kyunghee University, plan to reduce their entrance quota by 3,170 (10 percent) until 2007, which is expected to increase competition in entering high-ranked universities.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced yesterday that 38 universities submitted proposals for financial aid that aim at university restructuring for specialization.

The ministry only allowed universities that promised more than a 10 percent reduction of its 2004 entrance quota by 2007 to submit the proposals. After considering the possibility of integration and examining the contents of reforms, the ministry will distribute 80 billion won to schools by August.

Pusan National University and Miryang National University plan to focus on nanotechnology (NT) and biological technology (BT) by using the existing infrastructure that was built for supporting agricultural colleges. Samcheok National University and Kangwon National University will be specialized in tourism, leisure, design, and boom construction through an alliance with the local industry, which will mainly occur at the Samcheok campus.

Kyungpook National University also plans on developing its Daegu campus as a center for fostering human resources for information technology and biological technology, and will support Sangju National University in educating senior service workers in the welfare sector.

Meanwhile, Chonnam National University plans to have its Gwangju campus specialize in the fields of light industry, electric and information home appliance, and transportation equipment, and Yosu National University will specialize in ocean and marine products and international circulation.

Through combining 10 national universities into five pairs, the number of new students will fall by 2,780 (11.3 percent), which will make four school president seats and one school dean seat disappear, and five colleges and 26 departments unnecessary.

Private universities will also reduce their entrance quota by 3,170 students until 2007: 398 from Korea University, 393 from Yonsei University, 620 from Kyunghee University, 564 from Hanyang University, 400 from Sungkyunkwan University, 396 from Ewha Woman’s University, and 399 from Inha University.

The ministry believes that the reduction of the entrance quota will make a contribution to the schools’ restructuring and has strongly pushed these universities to reduce their entrance quota.

Furthermore, about 10 universities are attempting integrations with colleges attached to the same foundations by reducing the colleges’ entrance quota by 60 percent. For example, Korea University is now under process to integrate with the College of Health Sciences, Korea University.

The 10 percent reduction in the entrance quota of high-ranked universities, excluding Seoul National University, is expected to increase the competition among highly qualified students in entering these universities.

Considering that this reduction is almost the same as removing an entire middle sized university, the impact of this action is greater than expected. In other words, this means that this impact will be the equivalent of having universities that usually invite 10 percent new students on occasional admission during the first semester not running this system at all.

Given the fact that 7,879 new students entered Korea University and Yonsei University this year, as many as 800 students will have to choose lower-ranked universities. This means that school restructuring may cause a domino effect.

A source from the ministry said, “We believe that university restructuring will not only contribute to pushing schools’ downsizing, but also distribute qualified students in various universities evenly.”

However, Lee Yeong-duck, chief of the evaluation department of Daeseong Educational Institution, said, “The entrance quota of Seoul National University was once 5,100. The number has been reduced to 3,260 now. Under such circumstances, if the government reduces the entrance quota of Korea University and Yonsei University as well, the competition among highly qualified students will be much fiercer than before,” adding, “If it take place, we will experience the complete opposite situation of what we saw in the 1980s when the government increased the entrance quota of universities.”

Experts indicated that actions must be taken right now to increase the ratio of successful applicants because registration for the occasional admission of the first semester this year starts from as early as July 13.

Kim Yeong-il, president of JoongAng Educational Institution, said, “Since competition is expected to further increase in regular admission, the students would better actively apply for occasional admission in the first and second semester and pay more attention to in-depth interview and analytical writing.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com