Law school fiascoThe issue over introducing U.S.-style law schools in Korea is creating chaos. There is conflict between the Blue House and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development over the final selection of universities approved to open law schools, delaying the official announcement of the list.
The Blue House put pressure to add a university in South Gyeongsang to the list, following the principle of balanced development within the nation. However, the education ministry is resisting such pressure and plans to go ahead with the initial selection.
University chancellors staged a rally in protest of the ministry’s choice of universities. Many universities, including Dankook University and Chung-Ang University, are preparing to file an injunction to stop other universities from opening law schools and to nullify student quotas for each university.
It seems quite certain that the law school issue will end up in court.
The process of introducing the law schools was flawed from the start. It is wrong to limit the total number of students to 2,000, and by trying to create regional balance, the Roh Moo-hyun administration has distorted the selection standards.
Universities should be given permission to open law schools based on their management abilities and competence. However, as the limited number of student has to be divided among many schools nationwide, the law schools are to become miniaturized. So much so that it is hard to expect them to function as normal law schools.
The Roh administration pushed through law school policy in the hope of finishing it before its term ends, and, as a result, we have chaos.
If things get worse, public trust in the law school system will be shaken. It might fall apart even before it takes root. We need to discuss measures that will prevent the law schools from becoming low-quality institutes.
The Blue House must leave the law school issue to the new administration ― further delays won’t mean the end of the world. In addition, the evaluation scores of universities that want to open law schools must be publicized to clear suspicion and the limit on the total number of students should be lifted.
Any university that meets the required standards should be allowed to open law schools. It suits the new administration’s education philosophy to give autonomy to universities. It is also the right way to make the law school system take root.