Go to contents

Government, Ruling Party Seek to Block SNU’s Essay Test

Government, Ruling Party Seek to Block SNU’s Essay Test

Posted July. 07, 2005 02:29,   


The government and the ruling party have in effect declared an all-out war against the essay test proposed by Seoul National University (SNU). They view SNU’s proposed test as an “individual university admission exam,” which the government prohibits, and said that they will block the test by employing all possible means, including a new law on it.

The government and the ruling Uri party reached the conclusion in a government-ruling party conference in the National Assembly on July 6. Many officials, including Kim Jin-pyo, deputy prime minister and minister of Education and Human Resources Development, Uri floor leader Jeong Se-gyun and Won Hye-young, Uri Party’s Policy Committee chairman, participated in the conference.

The Uri Party is also considering measures to block in the first place individual university admission exams, a money-for-seat system, and the grading of high schools, by legislating the “three-no policy”.

Jeong, the Uri floor leader, said, “It is intolerable that SNU, a national university, presents a policy running against the government’s policy,” adding, “The National Assembly will find ways to address this problem, if necessary.”

The party believes that SNU’s planned essay test goes against the 2008 university admission system centering on students’ record in high schools, and that the test runs the risk of destroying public education and promoting private education.

Uri Rep. Choi Jae-seong also said, “As the SNU put forward a policy that would reverse the policy line of the Education Ministry, we reached a consensus on the need to stop the movement from the beginning.”

Seo Nam-su, assistant vice minister of Education and Human Resources Development, convened a press conference with regard to this and said, “We need to check actual questionnaires to figure out whether the essay test is really an individual university admission exam. But there is a need for correcting the situation if many students, schools and private teaching institutions regard it as such and students who received private education recognize that they are at an advantage,” adding, “We will protect the normalization of public education through consultation with the university.”

In response, SNU President Chung Un-chan, held a press conference that day in Buan County, Jeonbuk, where SNU students are participating in the agricultural community service. He strongly protested, “(About the policy of the government and the ruling party) I don’t want to step back and there is no reason to do so.”

He also added, “We’ll present an official stance around July 7 after holding a meeting. But I don’t see if there is anything wrong with the essay test aimed at selecting students who have good grades as well as creativity,” emphasizing, “Tasks of university should be in the hands of university. It is not good that outsiders judge such tasks.”

In-Chul Lee Myoung-Gun Lee inchul@donga.com gun43@donga.com