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Universities Resist Admission Guidelines

Posted June. 30, 2007 04:14,   


Tension surrounding the government’s education policy is building as private university presidents strongly criticized the government’s admission policies, including the increase of the weight of high school records in admission decisions up to 50 percent, and professors are raising their voices against what they believe is the government’s infringement on university authority. In particular, professors at Sogang, Chung-Ang, and Hanyang Universities following Seoul Nat’l Univ. and Korea Univ. are also known to be discussing this issue in their council meetings.

University Presidents Oppose the Admission Guidelines-

At a general meeting of the Korean Council for Presidents of Private Universities held in Seoul, college presidents expressed strong opposition to the government’s education policies, saying that “the government’s unilateral demands for increasing the percentage of student records to 50 percent and a submittal for admission guidelines by August 20 are too intrusive.” As they requested for a extension of the submission deadline, more than a few universities are expected to postpone their submissions.

They also criticized, “It is difficult for us to meet the deadline since we must review our admissions and administration policies as admissions would take place soon. In particular, the demand for final admission guidelines for 2009 by the end of August is too much.” Regarding the high school grading system, President of Kookmin University Kim Moon-hwan pointed out, “In fact, students with the slightest different in their grades are competing against each other. Therefore, the government’s measures to grade SAT scores while subdividing school records are contradictory.”

The Education Ministry in “Hot Water”-

With the discontented university presidents raising their voice against the government’s policy, the minister of education was having a difficult time explaining its measures. The event was later changed to a closed-door meeting at the request of the ministry.

A local private university president said, “If the equal learning opportunity program is applied, the number of students admitted across the country will increase by 16,000 each year. This means that 16 local universities with 1,000 as a fixed number limit should close their doors.”

Sohn Byeong-du, president of the Korean Council for Presidents of Private Universities, is expected to meet with the education ministry to discuss the policies.

Sohn said, “We decided to discuss the admission guidelines with the ministry to narrow the difference. We also concluded that the marked declines in students’ scholastic achievement are serious and that there needs to be some countermeasures.” An education ministry official responded, “It is embarrassing to face such responses from the universities. We thought their meeting with President Roh resolved the differences. If the council officially submits their statement, we will review this in earnest.”

Growing Backlashes from Universities-

Following the Seoul Nat’l Univ, and Korea University, Sogang, Chung-Ang, and Hanyang universities are also discussing on whether to follow the government guidelines or to demand more autonomy at their professor meetings.

Chung-Ang Univ. and Hanyang Univ. decided to reveal their official opinion next week following an internal council meeting. Sogang University also said that if there is a request from the school or some of its professors, the issue would be discussed at a meeting scheduled for July 2.”

Some experts say that the Cheong Wa Dae meeting between the president and university presidents added fuel to the discontent of the universities that have restrained themselves from expressing their opinions after the government announcement on June 25.

Choi Saeng-lim, chair of Hanyang University Professors Committee, said, “Cheong Wa Dae should have shown more thoughtful treatment towards the presidents. Their requests are fair and have to do with securing university authority. I believe that universities will deliver their opinion following their internal discussion over the proposed measures.”