Opening doors for high school grads

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Opening doors for high school grads

Those without college diplomas, a small number of people in a country that prizes education, will be able to become managers and executives at public institutions under a government plan to improve working conditions for high school graduates.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said yesterday it held a fair to introduce a new set of rules to be used by public institutions when they hire 19-year-olds who didn’t choose to attend universities.

According to data by Statistics Korea, there were about 1.9 million high school graduates last year. Of those, about 566,000 went to two-year or four-year colleges.

Among the remainder, 4.8 percent were hired by public institutions last year.

The government plans to create exclusive positions for high school graduates that will offer them the same opportunities as college graduates for promotion to the manager level after four years on the job.

Currently, those without college diplomas compete with college graduates in the same positions and are unlikely to be promoted.

The government also found that hiring examinations are too difficult for high school graduates, since they are made based on four-year university curricula.

The new rules include adopting a recruitment system that takes into account the limited abilities of teens after completion of high school.

At present, a total of 295 public institutions hire 20 percent of new entry-level employees as high school graduates. Under the government’s plan, the percentage would be raised.

While there is no specific time frame for institutions to implement the plan, the government will conduct regular audits to assess progress, said Kim Seong-jin, a director at the Public Policy Bureau of the Finance Ministry.

“One of complaints made by high school graduates who work at public institutions is that they lack motivation because they face a glass-ceiling,” said Kim. “The government revised the rules to make public institutions take the lead in improving conditions for high school graduates.”

The plan is in line with the incoming Park Geun-hye administration’s pledge to increase jobs in the public sector in order to raise the country’s employment rate to 70 percent.

Korea Water Resources Corporation, Korea South-East Power Corporation, Korea Rural Community Corporation and the National Pension Service will be the first public entities to apply the revised rules this year.

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