Admission system too controlled, say colleges

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Admission system too controlled, say colleges

Universities are criticizing the central government for intervening too much in the college admissions officer system, which was supposed to give them more autonomy and leeway in choosing students.

Started in 2008, the college admissions officer system aims to undercut the need for expensive private tutoring and cram schools by allowing universities to select admission candidates by their own criteria, including essays and extracurricular activities, not just scores on standardized tests. About 36,000 students, 9.6 percent of those who entered universities in 2010, were selected by 118 universities on the basis of the system.

The Korea Educational Development Institute released a report yesterday based on interviews with admission office chiefs at nine universities. According to the report, all of the admission chiefs interviewed said the system is too interfering.

“The central government is controlling and leading the admission officer system, and we have no authority in selecting students,” an official from Seogang University said. “At first, the system was supposed to give more autonomy to universities, and now it’s going against the initial purpose.”

An official of Chonnam University said, “It’s an irony that the government strives for autonomy of universities and orders them to follow their policy at the same time.”

The chiefs also criticized the Korean Council for University Education and the Education Ministry, which control the system.

“The Korean Council for University Education, an autonomous organization which should be deciding university admission policies by itself, is becoming subordinate to the Education Ministry,” the official of Seogang University said.

An official of Ewha Womans University said, “Sometimes the Korean Council for University Education doesn’t reflect our opinion on the admissions officer system and pushes forward its own policy.”

“Concerns are rapidly growing about the admissions officer system,” said Kim Mi-ran, one of the researchers who wrote the report. “The government vowed it would support autonomy of universities in the admissions system, but it is actually dominating the system, causing complaints.”

“But universities must boost their quality and not just advertise that they’re using the new admission system,” Kim said.


By Yun Suk-man, Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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