Embarrassing flip-flopsConfusion is growing over how much high school grades should be reflected in the college admissions process this year. Some elite private colleges want to put less weight on high school grades, and the government has immediately tried to stop them, threatening to cut off their funding subsidies.
Worse, high school seniors are getting more and more concerned about the mud slinging. Why has this country’s education policy remained so absurd? Officials of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development don’t have their own philosophies, they just flip-flop to please the Blue House.
As if the already stifling regulations on college admission policies were insufficient, the ministry has intervened in every tiny effort by colleges to change their own admission processes. It is now stirring confusion with its thoughtless change of policies.
A few days ago, an official at the ministry told reporters the ministry will direct universities to raise the weight of school grades in college admissions. But, after getting strong protests from schools and parents, he retreated from the statement.
The ministry, which remained silent over Seoul National University’s plan two months ago to give students within the top 18 percent of their graduation class full admission points, changed its stance abruptly, saying it will regulate the state-funded school. The change came just after President Roh Moo-hyun harshly criticized private colleges for their move to lower the weight of school grades.
Such inconsistent policies are nowhere to be seen in any other country in the world.
High school seniors, together with their parents, are exhausted. The government’s position on college examinations changed this spring from last year. Now it is shifting again. Students and parents simply don’t know what to do. They have been sacrificed by the Blue House and the Education Ministry. The college entrance exams should be handled by the colleges.
Even though the Education Ministry announces three years in advance when it introduces a new college exam policy, that regulation has no actual effect. Look what happens these days. The final plan can be confirmed just before the actual exam, and the basic plan can be changed either by the colleges or the government. Thus the exam plans can be recast any time by any party concerned. It is necessary to make the colleges prepare more detailed plans three years in advance in order to stop these unproductive embarrassments.