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SNU President Criticizes Government Education Policies

Posted October. 15, 2005 07:52,   


Yesterday, Seoul National University (SNU) President Chung Un-chan strongly criticized the government’s education policies, saying, “Universities’ efforts to single out creative students have been hindered by the government’s policies.”

In a celebratory speech for the 59th anniversary of the foundation of SNU held at Culture Hall of SNU at 11:00 a.m. yesterday, Chung said, “Autonomy is the primary principle that allows universities to exist, but unfortunately, even the appearance of autonomy does not remain in our society,” adding, “Irrespective of finances, organization and personnel management, there is little room for universities to decide things on their own.”

He continued to say, “Even universities’ attempts to measure applicants’ comprehensive thinking ability rather than their simple memory power should be subject to supervision by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development,” adding, “The current situation is miserable.”

Chung said, “Currently, equality-oriented sentiments in which Korea does not acknowledge the need for productive competition are rife,” stressing that the recognition that Korea’s future hinges on universities’ elite education is urgent.

His remarks are interpreted as showing his will to push ahead with SNU’s admission plans, despite the fact that SNU’s plan to put more weight on essay tests in its regular admission starting the 2008 school year has created controversy over bringing back the individual university’s entrance exams.

Chung said, “SNU has introduced a region-balanced admission system by revising its admission plan in order to allow students from across the country to enter it, as well as increased the number of professors from other universities and majors,” adding, “These systems will lay valuable groundwork for SNU to be reborn as a public’s university by contributing to the national integration in the long-term as well.”

Regarding the bill seeking to incorporate national universities, he said, “SNU stands at the crossroads between being content with its current achievements and jumping to a the status of a world-class university,” adding, “A new paradigm to pioneer the future is needed, and this bill should be reviewed in terms of this perspective.”

Amid the SNU Professor Association’s criticism over the bill to turn national universities to incorporated ones, this remark is an official statement that shows that Chung has the will to actively push ahead with the bill.

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com