[EDITORIALS]A policy to be consideredThe legalization of a “donations-for-admission” policy has been a long-term mission for Korean universities. Since the Korean Council for University Education first proposed it to the government in 1989, private universities have been stating the necessity of such a policy whenever possible. This time, presidents representing around 165 universities have adopted a joint proposal, to present a stronger case. They declare that the policy must be implemented to respect the autonomy of the universities and to allow them to solve their financial problems.
There are, however, voices opposing the policy as well. Some people feel that it is unfair to allow some students to enter universities based on their economic power rather than academic abilities. Opponents of the policy argue that such a policy would allow wealthy people to enter good universities even when they are not good students. The government first opposed the policy, ruling that it goes against the constitution, which guarantees equal education to all.
But proponents argue that donations could be used as scholarships for promising but financially hard-up students, thus allowing talented people to finish their university education without having to worry about tuition costs. They also point out that wealthy people are sending their children to study overseas. The average Korean university relies on tuition revenue for more than 70 percent of its budget, and thus the policy would greatly help universities improve their finances.
We propose that the Ministry of Education get together with university representatives and education experts to review the possibility of implementing a “donations-for-admission” policy. Of course, this policy should be applied only to a minimum number of students per school and the students’ grades should be above a certain average.
The donations should be used to improve educational conditions and to provide scholarships for students from low-income families. Measures must be taken to guarantee the transparency of the sources of donations. The ministry and universities must take precautions against the possibility that donations might be concentrated in certain universities. The “donations-for-admission” policy should be reviewed so that it can be a win-win situation for all.