Go to contents

Schools, MOE Clash Over “Three Nots” Policy

Posted March. 23, 2007 07:08,   


Korea’s association of private school presidents and Chung Un-chan, president of Seoul National University (SNU), called for the abolishment of the “three nots policy” after an SNU development committee blamed the policy of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development as an “obstacle to school development.”

President Roh Moo-hyun criticized the schools’ demand. And the Ministry of Education said that it will take every possible action against universities that violate the policy: banning school entrance examinations, donation-based admissions and high school ranking systems. The remarks add to the ongoing controversy over university autonomy.

The association, made up of 158 presidents of private colleges nationwide, held a meeting at the President Hotel in Seoul on March 22 and discussed the policy and the revision of the private school law.

Fifteen presidents representing their regions, including Sohn Byung-doo from Sogang University, Kim Moon-hwan from Kookmin University, Lee Bae-yong from Ewha Womans University, and Lee Hyun-cheong from Honam University agreed to propose reconsiderations to the ministry, saying that, “The policy weakens school competitiveness.”

The former SNU president participated in a lecture titled, “Korea’s yesterday, today and tomorrow,” hosted by the Graduate School of International Studies. He said, “The Ministry of Education should not intervene in higher education. It should allow schools to have an entrance examination and school ranking system.”

He added, “The government should not intervene any more in the process of selecting students. As SNU is a state school, it is desirable not to adopt donation-based admissions, however.”

President Roh participated in the “2007 government administrative briefing with the public” held in the KAIST building in Daegu and said, “Several schools compete to select better students rather than to provide a better education. The government is not supposed to provide a policy, which leaves students in a one-size-fits-all competition.” He implicitly criticized the call for scrapping the “three nots policy.”

Deputy education minister Kim Gwang-jo held a press conference in the central government complex in Seoul and said, “The policy comes from our 50-year-long experience and is an agreement to reduce the adverse effects of the school hierarchy. Any school that violates the policy will be subject to regulations under the law.

ceric@donga.com jyw11@donga.com