Universities complain of gov’t push

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Universities complain of gov’t push

Korea’s top universities say the new admissions officer system which started last year has been pursued too rapidly by the Education Ministry, thus failing to provide an efficient alternative to past policies.

In a survey of admissions offices of 40 universities across the country, most schools wrote that the new admissions officer system has caused serious side effects and that they had little time to prepare to execute the system properly, according to a report by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

The schools handed their reports to the ministry by late June last year. The ministry then forwarded them to the education, science and technology committee at the National Assembly.

Seoul National University was one of the first schools to adopt the new system.

However, in the survey the school’s admissions office said the “the new admissions officer system requires long-term planning to be executed properly, but due to the Education Ministry’s wanting fast, short-term results from this policy, it is hard to make the system efficient over the long-term.”

The new system was introduced early last year as part of a government effort to reform the college admissions procedures. In March last year, the Education Ministry selected 40 universities nationwide to receive a combined 23.6 billion won ($20.5 million) to introduce the system. The core of the system was in the admissions officers, which were hired by universities to screen candidates for school enrollment. The ministry said that the system was designed to lessen the reliance on private education institutions and tutors by diversifying the admissions process which had mostly focused on annual national college entrance exam scores.

Yonsei University had a similar view of the new system.

“Under these circumstances, students will not be able to agree with the results of their admissions. Also, the system can lead to the popularization of other forms of private education,” the school wrote.

Out of 344 admissions officers from 47 universities which have adopted the new system, 24.1 percent were hired after last August, which means that they had less than six months to prepare for spring admissions. “Because the new admissions system is spreading too quickly among universities, high schools do not have the time to prepare students for the admissions,” said Jeong Gwang-hee, head researcher of the university admissions department at the Korean Educational Development Institute.

There are, however, some voices in favor of the system’s adoption in the long-run. “After the introduction of the new admissions officer system, there is generally more awareness and interest in the variety of classes and teaching methods in the nation’s high schools,” said Kim Gyeong-sook, an admissions officer at Dongguk University.

Seoul National University said that it applied the new system to students from small, regional areas, low-income brackets, special education students and foreigners. The school said that they selected a student through this new system on the basis of his “determination and aggressiveness in overcoming his circumstances.” The school said that although the student, from Okcheon, North Chungcheong, was the lowest in his class throughout elementary school due to being in and out of orphanages, he studied hard by himself throughout middle and high school, earning high grades and becoming class president.

A student at Yonsei University was chosen for his potential to be a global leader. He had high scores in English and Japanese in school and also completed a triathlon, which reflected on his physical capabilities. He also had other skills, including in debate and writing.

By Kang Min-seok, Kim Sung-tak [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
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서울대·연세대·KAIST 등 “추진 너무 빨라” 교과부에 의견 제출, 본지‘40개 대학 평가서’입수

정부가 2009학년도 대학 입시부터 도입한 입학사정관제와 관련해 너무 빨리 추진되고 있다는 비판이 이 제도를 직접 운영해온 주요 대학들에서 제기됐다. 이런 지적은 전국 40개 대학이 교육과학기술부(교과부)에 제출한 ‘2009학년도 대학입학사정관제 지원사업 집행결과 보고서’에서 드러났다. 해당 보고서는 각 대학의 입학본부(입학처)가 지난해 6월 30일 교과부에 제출한 것으로 국회 교육과학기술위원회 권영길 의원실이 입수해 28일 공개했다.

서울대·연세대 등 주요 대학들은 보고서에서 사교육비 증가 등의 부작용을 지적하며 입학사정관제의 추진 속도에 문제를 제기했다.

서울대는 “입학사정관제는 장기적 검토가 필수적이나 (교과부가) 단기적 실적 위주의 가시적 사업 결과를 요구해 장기적 사업 실행이 곤란하다”고 밝혔다. 연세대도 “현재의 입학사정관제 추진 속도가 과도해 사회 구성원의 인식으로는 이를 완전히 수용하기에 무리가 따를 것으로 보인다”며 “이러한 상황에서 입학사정관제 전형의 과도한 확대와 전형 방법 준비 부족은 입시 결과에 승복하지 못하는 사태와 또 다른 형태의 사교육비 증가 요인으로 변질될 가능성이 있다”고 지적했다.

특히 KAIST는 “오랫동안 학생을 지도해온 교사의 평가와 입시 결과가 상이함으로써 (수험생들이) KAIST 입학 전형에 불신을 보이고 있다”며 “아예 ‘될 대로 되라’는 방임적 태도와, KAIST는 면접만 잘 보면 된다는 생각하에 면접 대비 학원에 다니는 두 가지 극단적 입시 준비 유형이 나타나고 있다”고 보고했다. KAIST는 입학사정관이 개인 심층 면접·토의식 단체 면접 등으로 신입생을 선발하는 제도를 도입했었다.

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