Proposal aims to keep men in military service

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Proposal aims to keep men in military service

A presidential panel on national security has proposed reinstating a controversial reward system for men who apply for public sector jobs after completing their mandatory military service, military officials said yesterday.

The proposal appears to be in line with the government’s efforts to encourage young men to complete the compulsory military service.

South Korea abolished the reward system, which granted bonus points to male applicants with military experience when they took national exams to become public officials, in 1999, when the Constitutional Court ruled it unconstitutional, saying such a system discriminated against women and the disabled.

The plan to revive the system was included in a slew of defense reform proposals by the Presidential Commission for National Security Review and was reported to President Lee Myung-bak last week.

“I learned that the commission made a proposal to reintroduce the bonus-point system while avoiding unconstitutional factors,” a military official said.

Currently, a bill to revive the system that eliminated unconstitutional factors has been pending at the National Assembly’s judiciary committee, but its review was stalled amid strong opposition from civic groups advocating equal rights for women.

In South Korea all men over age 19 are required to serve in the 650,000-strong military for at least 21 months. Most are forced to interrupt their studies.

Yonhap


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