[EDITORIALS]Let universities decideThe government and Uri Party announced that they would take all necessary measures to bar Seoul National University’s admission plans. It is because introducing an essay test, as the university proposes, could disturb the government’s university admission plans of selecting students based on their College Scholastic Ability Test scores and high school academic records. The government also worries that such a plan would increase individuals’ spending on education.
A few days ago, President Roh Moo-hyun said, “The worst news from last week was that universities are planning to have their own admission test systems.” With this word, the ruling party seemed to have decided to ban SNU from holding its own essay tests. The Uri Party has openly declared war on the university.
The report the Presidential Committee on Education Innovation submitted to the president states that the essay tests that several universities are emphasizing can defeat the purpose of the government’s 2008 revision of the university admission policy. They are especially targeting SNU’s admission plans.
This issue stems from the government’s education equalization principle. It is hard to determine which abilities a student has and how well a student can perform just by looking at the CSAT scores, which divides students’ performance into nine levels. The universities are cooperating with the government to some extent but want to strengthen the essay score to choose better students. If essays are not allowed, how can universities recruit good students? SNU selects over 60 percent of its students by regional quotas and other methods. This being the case, we must accept SNU’s admission plan as a reasonable one.
If equalization in education, seen in elementary, middle and high schools, is extended to the universities, we have no future. Look at the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union and parents’ groups, which have demonstrated strongly, seeking to bar the universities’ plans to strengthen the role of essays. How can the country gain competitiveness when it is busy shouting about equality and introducing educational systems that are of interest only to the public? It is a pity to see the ruling party gaining power with one comment from the president.
Seeing that other universities’ admission plans are also putting weight on the essay, it seems that essays are important to these universities. Please, leave it up to the universities.