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Lee: To Minimize Government Role in College Admissions

Posted January. 05, 2008 07:23,   


In a remark that hints of a major overhaul of the educational system, President-elect Lee Myung-bak said on Jan. 4 that eliminating government intervention was the best college admission policy.

“We have to make 2008 the year that Korea joins the ranks of advanced counties. The most urgent task is to reform the education system,” Lee said during a meeting of university presidents at the LG Convention Hall of Ewha Womans University.

“Despite that fact that the Education Ministry has been in charge of college admissions for 30 years, nothing has gone right,” Lee noted. “Although it might have caused some confusion in the beginning, if the ministry had stayed out and left it to the discretion of colleges, colleges would be more competitive and the admission system could have been settled by now.”

Lee also said that although many people are worried about entrusting universities with the right to make their own admission criteria, he will maintain some aspects of the egalitarian high school system. “I believe that we should review promoting elite education and diversity based on an egalitarian school system,” Lee said.

The CEO-turned politician also pointed out that each university should make its own efforts to offer specialized courses and join the ranks of world top universities. In return, he promised to create and support an efficient, fair and transparent system for them.

Lee also stressed that there was no need for the government to speak out loudly because if colleges and businesses do their jobs well, education and competition would properly follow its course.

“The government will play the role of an assistant and minimize its supervising role,” Lee said. “In order to make universities self-reliant, the government will give them freedom and help as a dedicated assistant.”