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Special college admission for ferry disaster victims

Posted July. 16, 2014 07:39,   


Special college admissions for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster have stirred controversy. Today, both ruling and opposition parties will pass a bill that allocates extra college admission slots (less than one percent of total slots) to the victims of the disaster who are juniors at Danwon High School and even seniors. While the National Assembly was discussing the bill, someone posted, “I am a repeater who graduated from Danwon High School” on an Internet website. “After the accident, I couldn’t swallow food and was seriously depressed and helpless. It’s natural to give (me) the privilege.” It seems like a prank but there were heated debates over the issue. Some criticized that he should not take advantage of this.”

Few would disagree that society should care for Danwon High School students as much as possible. College admissions, however, are a sensitive issue. A majority of students take the benefits for a few as “discrimination.” Some claim that the bill is “reverse discrimination” and raises questions why the bill does not care about the victims of other accidents.

In a similar measure, the children of residents in the five islands closest to North Korea in the West Sea benefit from special college admissions in the wake of the bombing of Yeonpyeong Island in 2012. The bombing occurred on Nov. 23 when the Korean SAT and academic assessments were completed. The Sewol ferry disaster happened on April 16, in the beginning of a new semester. Therefore, it was different from this bill compensating the academic damage to students. It was rather for the stable life of residents on those islands.

Even if the National Assembly passes the bill, it is of no use if universities turn a deaf ear. Whether they take the bill or not is up to them. Only some 10 universities and colleges accept the special admissions for students from the five northern islands. The special admissions for the ferry disaster victims were not suppose to be made in the first place. The bereaved families said they have never mentioned special admissions. The bill gives an impression that politicians want to take credit for what they do without considering other future cases. Universities should step up to the plate first as they are supposed to understand the pain and suffering of the students educationally. Some universities are willing to accept them as the social minority but renowned universities need to participate in the efforts first.