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[Editorial] More Admissions Changes

Posted May. 04, 2006 08:29,   


Twenty-four universities, including Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University, announced that they agreed to increase the rate of academic achievement during school years in their 2008 admissions to 50 percent. Education authorities hailed the decision, stressing the universities agreed voluntarily, but high school students are in confusion.

Current high school juniors, the first year to be affected by the decision, have started to compete fiercely upon admission to gain higher academic performance since the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced 2008 college admissions will be based on grades during high school years. Some students staged demonstrations against the admission policy that fuels competition among students. At the end of last year when universities raised the importance of the essay test, students started to take essay classes. Teachers even said that essay tests would determine the result of college admissions. Now, admissions policy has changed again.

It is questionable whether to take the recent announcement at face value. Some colleges said they did not agree on the decision. They claim that universities go through the motions of increasing the weight of high school records under government pressure. It is hard to predict what the admission policies will be like at the time of 2008 college admissions.

Students and parents should bear the burden of the “triple whammy” of high school records, essay test, and college scholastic ability test. As students do not really know which will be the major determining factor in college admissions, they cannot but receive private education, spending massive amount of money. It is pathetic to see colleges flip-flopping under the ministry’s pressure while claiming autonomy.

The Roh administration is dictating educational policies in the name of equality, forcing students to suffer on the test board. Sandwiched between the college and the government that seeks to wield absolute authority in education, students are suffering from uncertainties, calling themselves who were born in 1989 being cursed.

Putting weight on high school records does not necessarily boost the quality of public school education. The policy emphasizing academic records during school years focuses not on enhancing public education but on giving disadvantages to schools in the privileged Gangnam area, special high schools, and schools in non-equalization area, which show high academic performance. Vice Prime Minister for Education Kim Jin-pyo should think for whom he serves.