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Debate Rages on Over Law School Bill

Posted February. 04, 2008 03:04,   


The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and the Education Ministry remain at odds over the final list of universities that can open law schools. The announcement is due Monday.

The ministry held an emergency council meeting in the afternoon yesterday to carry on negotiations with Cheong Wa Dae. The ministry, however, simply reconfirmed its principle that adding a university on the list or readjusting the student quota for each school is not possible.

“The Education Ministry is trying to announce Monday the final draft on the law school bill that maintains the results of the Legal Education Committee as is,” said ministry spokesman Seo Myeong-beom. “We will conclude coordination with Cheong Wa Dae Monday morning and announce the final bill in the afternoon.”

Because Education Minister Kim Shin-il is scheduled to attend a hearing at the National Assembly Monday, either Vice Minister Seo Nam-soo or Assistant Vice Minister Kim Jeong-gi will announce the final draft on the law school bill.

“The designation of additional universities is a grave matter that can frustrate the launch of law schools in March 2009, because it makes it necessary to adjust the quotas for other universities,” Kim said. “[The ministry] is speaking with Cheong Wa Dae on a workable alternative, but since there is no other realistic way, the ministry will reconfirm the draft bill written by the Legal Education Committee.”

A presidential official, however, hinted at a delay in the announcement, saying, “[The ministry and Cheong Wa Dae] are doing our best to come to an agreement by Monday by any means and to announce the final list. But if that fails to happen by Monday, then we must have more time for further negotiations.”

The presidential official has apparently acknowledged to a certain point that adding universities to the list will bring about side effects. But it proposed including in the final draft raising the student quota after 2010 or permitting more universities to establish law schools.

The ministry, however, has told Cheong Wa Dae that though a higher quota is possible, it could lead to overall chaos if used as a tool in the general elections in April.