중앙데일리

Universities to decide who gets in

Jan 05,2008
The best college admission system can is one free from government interference, President-elect Lee Myung-bak said yesterday, giving slightly more shape to an educational policy facing huge changes under the incoming administration.
Earlier in the week, Lee’s transition team decided to end the egalitarianism-based policies of the Roh Moo-hyun administration by limiting the powers of the Education Ministry.
Speaking to a group of 169 university presidents yesterday, Lee repeated his earlier promise to give more power to the schools, including the authority to make their own admission system.
“The Education Ministry has been in charge of creating the college admission system for the last 30 years, but none of it has been successful,” Lee said. “I think it will be best if the government takes its hands off the system.
“There could have been some confusion if we had let the schools decide their own admission systems 30 years ago, but by now we would have had very competitive colleges and a good admission system,” he said.
Lee’s remarks were welcome news to the university presidents, who have long complained that the government has had too much control over admissions, deciding how many students the schools are allowed to accept and how the students should be tested.
Sohn Byung-doo, president of Sogang University, suggested that the incoming administration create a presidential committee that covers college and university affairs.
“Such a committee will help colleges cooperate with corporations and the government to raise the competitiveness of colleges,” said Sohn, who is also the newly elected head of the Korean Council for University Education, a group that represents 201 four-year colleges nationwide.
That council has been put in charge of creating the admission system, instead of the Education Ministry.
In response to Lee’s announcement, Sohn said in a press conference that his group was confident it could do “much better.”
“It is true that many people are concerned that the cost of private education will rise if we leave the admission system to the colleges,” Lee said, pointing out one of the nation’s biggest concerns ― curtailing the ubiquitous cram schools. “But letting schools have more autonomy is a trend that no one should stop.”


By Lee Min-a Staff Reporter [mina@joongang.co.kr]


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