[EDITORIALS]Student CDs still necessary

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[EDITORIALS]Student CDs still necessary

The Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed a “provisional disposition” to ban the manufacturing and distribution of CDs containing the plaintiffs’ college application data, filed by three high school seniors against the Education Ministry, gave more emphasis on preventing infringement of the privacy than efficiency of education administration.
However, the ministry’s decision to continue manufacturing the CDs without the data of the three students who filed the suit is an inevitable choice taking into account the college application process. The ministry must now develop a new way of providing data while respecting the court’s decision to forbid revealing personal information without prior consent.
The Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union, which initiated the lawsuit, has finally succeeded in blocking the CDs. To prevent setbacks in application processing, it must not ban the CD that the ministry intends to manufacture this year.
The CD method, which began in 1997, contains school records for all students applying to colleges, and they are also provided to schools that students do not want to attend. The information is kept by universities for four years after the application process is over, leading to personal information leaking to cram schools and credit card companies.
The ministry and universities must thoroughly manage the contents of the CDs, making sure that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. The ministry must also gain approval from other students besides the three who have requested provisional disposition. It is illegal to distribute the CDs without students’ consent, and it must take into consideration future reparation claims.
If manufacturing CDs is not allowed, high schools and colleges have to labor over hand-written data on the 600,000 high school seniors for months. The court’s recommendation to set up a system where each university will be provided with its applicants’ data selectively through the National Education Information System is adequate. The teachers union, which has been opposing the NEIS for months, must take that into account.
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