ROTC training open to women in all universities

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ROTC training open to women in all universities

Female students in all Korean universities will be allowed, starting this year to enroll in a college-based program to train Army officers as part of the military’s effort to secure more talented female officers, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

The Army opened the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program to women last year for the first time since it began in 1963, picking 60 female cadets from seven selected universities.

“The ministry recently sent an official letter to all of the 109 universities nationwide allowing them to select female ROTC cadets from this year,” said an official at the Defense Ministry.

The ministry set a separate quota for female ROTC cadets, although it has not been decided yet how many will be picked this year, the official said.

In comparison, the Army selects about 4,000 male ROTC cadets a year.

Sophomores can apply for the program from as early as next month, and the list of finalists will come out in August after those who apply undergo physical examinations and fitness tests, the ministry said.

South Korea banned female students from entering the ROTC program until last year, which critics say is discriminatory.

The military has allowed women to enter military academies since 1998.

Currently, there are some 2,900 female military officers in South Korea, accounting for about 4 percent of the total number of officers.

The ministry plans to increase the ratio of female officers to 6.3 percent by 2016 in its effort to give women more opportunities in the military.

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