중앙데일리

Quota mandate changed as reform bill idles

May 23,2015
Government-led university evaluation interviews were conducted at a ski resort in Gangwon from April 28 to 30. By Chun In-sung
The government’s plan to cut the entrance quota of universities was interrupted last month after a bill supporting the Ministry of Education’s university evaluation system was held up in the National Assembly.

As a part of government-led reforms, university entrance quotas were supposed to be reduced after each university completed an evaluation in order to address the country’s dwindling student population.

Schools are graded from A to E, with E being the lowest rank, while those rated A are exempt from reducing their numbers.

However, according to a ministry official, because the legislature failed to pass the bill last month, the ministry has decided to change its course of action since it cannot yet mandate that schools reduce student quotas.

“Even if the bill would be passed soon, the ministry has decided to defer the plan to reduce each university’s entrance quotas, along with the evaluation, due to retroactive issues,” the source said.

Last month, 163 universities submitted their reports to the ministry after completing their self-evaluations, and the ministry has already finished assessment interviews for each school.

The evaluation will still affect financial aid, and universities nationwide ranked in the bottom 15 to 20 percent are expected to be influenced by the assessment.

Schools with the lowest grades, D and E, will not receive funding from the government.

The schools will be also restricted from applying for national scholarships and student loans.

Though because the government cannot force a reduction in quotas, there still stands the possibility that some universities will find ways to stay afloat.

According to an official involved in the reforms, some universities may have pledged to reduce their quota independently in order to avoid receiving a lower score.

The way in which the ministry notifies schools about their evaluation results will also be modified.

After the first evaluation, universities that received low scores will be notified that they will be subject to an additional evaluation.

It will not, however, notify schools that received A, B or C scores because with no mandate to reduce student quotas, those universities will not be affected by the review.

Still, a number of universities reacted positively to the planned government-led reforms.

“We understand the need to cut the entrance quota because the number of prospective students is expected to decrease,” one university official said, “but it’s reckless to push the reduction using one standard.”

Others voiced concerns that universities were only wasting time and money.

The vice president of a university in Seoul said that his school had set a budget and modified school rules in line with the ministry’s proposed plan.

For the evaluation, the school operates a team with about 20 staff members and professors.

“If [the ministry] would conduct reforms in the same way as last time, [which targeted poorly managed universities,] we would not have spent so much of our time and budget here,” the vice president said.

BY CHUN IN-SUNG [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]


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