[EDITORIALS]University woes are now clear

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[EDITORIALS]University woes are now clear

It was shocking to see the materials on school records of students who applied for admission to Yonsei University during first semester this year. The university made them public Monday. Fifteen percent of the applicants got “excellent” marks in all subjects and the number of such students exceeded the number to be admitted. Therefore, it was not possible from the beginning for the university to select students on the basis of school records sent by high schools. The high school ranking system that was adopted by some universities was a minimum measure for universities to select students for admittance. On the basis of materials with no differentiation, universities tried hard to evaluate students’ scholastic ability and aptitudes in their own ways. The universities that selected students without resorting to a high school ranking system must have astonishing abilities.
The deputy prime minister for education, Ahn Byung-young, emphasized the policy of prohibiting universities from adopting a high school ranking system, entrance examinations and admissions in exchange for financial contributions. This is shackling universities. With inflated school records, universities cannot select talented students. In whatever ways they might utilize school records, it is difficult to differentiate the abilities of students, if the marks of the student in first place and that of the least successful one are the same; “excellent.” The policy of suppressing universities obstinately was only possible under the authoritarian regimes in the past. Under circumstances in which all applicants are ranked in first place and get “excellent” marks, how will the Education Ministry guide universities to select students?
School marks should be changed to a relative evaluation system and differences of ranking among schools must be recognized. Then, students will start to compete among themselves in the class and competition among high schools will be motivated. Through such competition, we can discern which schools teach well and which ones are not doing well. And the wages of teachers must be differentiated through such competitions. How come the salaries of hard-working teachers and those of easy-going ones are the same? If things go this way, universities will be free from agony over selecting students.
As we repeatedly claimed, the government must give universities the right to select students. The right to decide the ratio of application materials to be reflected in evaluation and the scoring of them belongs to universities. Each university should be allowed to select students by using admission materials objectively and in a fair manner. And it is a necessary measure in the era of globalization. Now, the Education Ministry must inspect high schools that inflated school records, not universities. And it is urgent to strengthen supervision and administration of high schools guiding them to evaluate students’ ability properly.
Over the Education Ministry’s policy of prohibiting a school ranking system, entrance examination and contribution admission, the whole nation is divided into pros and cons, confronting each other fiercely ― between special purpose high schools and regular schools; Gangnam and Gangbuk; and the rich and the poor. Education problems can’t be solved through confrontation of ideologies or forces. The Uri Party’s idea to enact a law binding university admission systems is also problematic. In the sense that all possibilities are left open, it is desirable to consider reviving the entrance examination system and contribution admission. Modified entrance examinations that do not fan illegal private lessons, and contribution admissions that do not disturb fairness are harmless. We must stop gang fights over the university admission system.
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