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Education Ministry Relaxes Stance on Admissions

Posted July. 07, 2007 03:04,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE) has withdrawn from its original stance that it would take punitive measures such as financial sanctions on universities that do not increase the weight of high school records in the admissions process to 50 percent. Rather, it lowered its weight limit guidelines to over 30 percent.

It was a welcome development for universities that the Education Ministry shifted its policy focus from imposing penalties to fostering autonomy in academia. As a consequence, disputes between the government and the academia are likely to subside.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Kim Shin-il released a statement titled, “An address to the nation” with regard to the weighting of high school records in the college admissions process at the government’s central complex in Sejong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul on the morning of July 6. He offered an apology for the confusion caused by the education policy.

In his public apology, Kim said he was sorry for the failure to prevent confusion and disruptions in schools regarding the government’s college admissions guidelines.

The education minister asked universities to gradually increase the weight given to an applicant’s school performance from 30 percent to the targeted percentage in three to four years. He also asked them to publish admissions guidelines for the 2008 academic year no later than by the end of August.

He said that universities should introduce a phased increase of academic record weighting “at an acceptable level” according to the agreement between the Education Ministry and the Korea Council for University Education. Kim also asked schools not to give the impression to students and parents that high school records are useless for college admissions by rendering Korea’s school performance grade system meaningless.

The ministry took a step back from its original plan to take punitive action at the administrative and financial levels against universities that did not abide by its initial ruling.

Vice Education Minister Seo Nam-soo said punitive measures against universities would hardly address their concerns and negatively affect Korea’s education system. He called for collaboration with universities in return for a more flexible government position.

MOE said that the Seoul National University, previously categorized as “accountable” by giving perfect scores to students with high school records from levels one and two, would not be subject to sanctions.