Law school reality checkThe Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced yesterday that it will allot 52 percent of the total law school student quota to Seoul and the area around the capital, while the remaining 48 percent will go to the provincial regions.
As President Roh Moo-hyun wanted, the quota has been allocated according to the government’s balanced regional growth policy.
Regional education is very important for development. But the quota allocation ignores principles and reality. Instead, it focuses only on giving everyone an equal share. This is like putting the cart before the horse, and the negative impact will be huge.
Chaos ensued after Roh decided to shake up the nation’s education policy in the name of egalitarianism, but in reality for politically motivated reasons.
Thousands of students are outraged and in despair after taking the college entrance exam. Some have filed lawsuits to nullify test results because they believe the new system is unfair.
Now Roh wants to flatten out law schools. The Blue House is planning to allocate 70 percent of the total law school student quota to provincial areas. But the educational conditions of each school should be the first consideration. For example, the school should be a place where students can compete internationally and should provide a diverse legal education.
The ultimate goal of opening a law school in Korea should be to offer a higher quality law service for a lower price. To accomplish this, educational conditions are important. But the government failed to examine the schools’ conditions before allocating the student quota.
So, colleges that have a good education environment might be excluded from opening a law school, while colleges that do not meet standards might have the chance instead.
This will not help develop Korean law schools. We will be victimizing students who should be getting a world-class education. Students will turn away from schools with inferior law schools and those schools could be weeded out.
The government can give extra benefits to provincial colleges that are handicapped, but that could become unfair. Balanced growth and special benefits are not the same.
The issue of creating new law schools is a massive step forward for overall reform of the judicial system. It’s not a problem that can be approached for political purpose or gain.