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Education Ministry Backs Down Over Admissions Disputes

Posted July. 06, 2007 01:21,   


The Ministry of Education backed down from its demand that schools give up to 50 percent weight in consideration of student records in the college admissions process, creating room for negotiations between the ministry and universities.

Vice Prime Minister and Education Minister Kim Shin-il and executives of the Korean Council for University Education held a meeting at a hotel in Mapo-gu, Seoul early in the morning and released a joint statement. "The Education Ministry and universities nationwide will negotiate to gradually increase the percentage of student records in admissions at a pace acceptable to society," the two sides said in a joint statement.

In the statement, the government also pledged greater autonomy for universities, while universities have promised to be more socially responsible. "We understand that the 2008 admission policies should not cause confusion among students and agree that the contribution of high school records should be gradually increased,” Kim said.

The minister said in the briefing, “Some schools may have difficulties complying with the admission guidelines this year, and they will be allowed to increase the percentage step-by-step.” Seoul National University president Lee Jang-moo said, “The ministry showed the government understands the autonomy and realities of universities and expressed its willingness to talk with schools.”

However, possible causes for conflicts still remain since the two sides failed to agree on detailed guidelines, such as the submission of 2008 admission guidelines by August 20, and providing the reasons regarding the gradual increases.

College admissions officials said of the joint agreement, “We welcome the atmosphere for dialogue but universities should be allowed to decide their own deadlines for submitting their admission policies.” Meanwhile, professors at Korea University resumed a professor council meeting that afternoon and delivered their position, saying, “The government should fully respect university autonomy and not relate its administrative and financial subsidies with admission policies.” The professors’ council did not make a statement.

crystal@donga.com gaea@donga.com