Students oppose ‘special recruiting’

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Students oppose ‘special recruiting’

Students hoping to enter the civil service mobilized yesterday against the government’s “special recruitment” system, saying the previous way of recruiting through standardized tests was fairer and less open to manipulation.

The students set up an online “emergency committee” demanding the government not phase out the standardized tests after Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan resigned for allowing his daughter to be hired by his own ministry via the new recruitment system. Yu’s daughter didn’t take the standardized test. A petition by the committee attracted 2,300 signatures yesterday. “We are aiming for a fair society,” the leader of the committee surnamed Jeon said. “We know that there is nepotism not only in recruitment of government officials but in getting admitted to prestigious law schools as well.”

In August, the government announced it was phasing out the standardized tests, called gosi, for administrative officers, diplomats and legal officials, and will instead choose civil servants through a combination of interviews and resume screening. The idea was to attract officers with more varied experience and expertise and to abolish a 60-year-old system that gave rise to an industry of private cram schools that teach applicants how to pass the test. The government said it wanted to select half of its midrank public servants through the “special recruitment” system by 2015.

But some students are opposed to the new system, saying it makes it easier for applicants with connections to get government jobs because resume screening and interviews are not objective or transparent. “The only thing that the low-class people can rely on is the state exams, a fair chance for upward mobility,” said one signatory to the petition. “Gosi is the only hope for us [to get privileged jobs],” said another signatory.

The government defended its switch away from the gosi. “The new system for hiring civil servant was never intended for the privileged class,” Minister of Public Administration and Security Maeng Hyung-kyu said Monday. “The current state exam is a vestige of the colonial period under Japan and [under the new system] we will employ experienced workers with fair standards of recruitment.”

According to a survey released yesterday by Realmeter, supporters of the special recruitment system accounted for only 13 percent of respondents, while 51 percent preferred exam-based hiring.


By Lee Han-gil [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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