Alarm over officer system

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Alarm over officer system

Warning bells are ringing over the government’s move to expand the new admissions officer system. A survey of admissions officers at 40 universities nationwide handed to the Education Ministry is alarming in itself. It found that most universities are concerned about the possible side effects that the new admissions officer system is likely to cause, citing concerns over the government’s hasty efforts for fast, short-term results. Universities also underlined the need to have more time to prepare themselves for executing the system properly.

With universities worried, our responsibility of making this system work is now much greater. They sent a clear message that the system should be amended as early as possible.

The success of the admissions officer system depends on obtaining the public trust in terms of fairness and objectivity. However, this is not a simple task, given that the new admissions officer system has been pursued too rapidly by the Education Ministry. Universities and high schools had little time to prepare to implement the system. Above all, with the number of admissions officers and their expertise levels falling far short of expectations, there is considerable concern, and it’s clear that the system leaves much to be desired.

The admissions officers of each university revealed their true thoughts at a workshop hosted by Konkuk University several days ago. Those on the front lines of the system, it seems, think it is in grave peril. They said they were only able to spend a few minutes reviewing each application because the number of admissions officers is vastly insufficient for the task.

Doubts are now growing over whether the system can be operated properly. More than 30 percent of high school teachers expressed dissatisfaction over the fairness and trustworthiness of it, according to a poll conducted by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Private education has indeed become more prevalent, and the fact that high schools are not ready to cope with such rapid change is another huge problem. This runs counter to the purpose of the admissions officer system, which was designed to restore public education to its original state and reduce private education costs. It is worrying that the number of new students recruited through the admissions officer system will amount to 37,600 this year, up 53 percent from 2009.

The admissions officer system should take root in our society for the sake of providing a comprehensive review of students’ potential and aptitude, rather than solely their academic records. Reckless and hasty implementation of the system, however, will lead to its downfall.

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