Quotas aimed at fostering provincial professionals

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Quotas aimed at fostering provincial professionals

Medical, dental and law schools outside Seoul will be required to admit a certain quota of students who graduated from regional high schools starting in the 2015 academic year, the Ministry of Education said yesterday.

The program is a part of a plan revealed by the ministry yesterday that aims to help foster and retain top talent in Korea’s provinces.

With the measure, students from regional high schools will have a higher chance of getting into popular undergraduate departments such as medicine, dentistry or law, as well as graduate law schools outside of Seoul starting in 2015.

The ministry said the plan is to encourage the best students from regional high schools to go to colleges in their areas. Most Korean students prefer schools in Seoul.

Lee Yoo-chul, a professor at the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine in Daegu, told the JoongAng Ilbo that when he entered the school’s medical program in 1976, of 120 students, 90 percent were from Daegu and the North Gyeongsang region. He said two-thirds of his class remained in the area to practice medicine.

But Hong Nam-su, 34, another professor at the school, said, “These days, around half of the students who matriculate at the School of Medicine are from Seoul. As med school has become more popular, it has become more difficult for students in this region to get in here.”

He added, “Those students who are from Seoul and the metropolitan area seem to hope to return there to practice medicine.”

Currently, individual colleges can each set their own quotas on the ratio of students they accept. This year, some 68 schools picked 8,834 students from regional high schools through their respective systems. But the Korean Council for University Education deemed that it was unfair to allow special admissions quotas based on region and banned the practice for 2014 admissions.

Education Minister Seo Nam-soo said, “By enacting a special law, we plan to push for a permanent strategy to advance regional universities and encourage a cycle of educational and regional development.”

In 2007, the government called for a target of 20 percent regional hires in the recruitment of government officials of up to level 5.

But last year, the number of civil servants from the provinces hired based on the guideline was only 23 out of 266, a mere 8.7 percent.

The Education Ministry has also called for an increase in the hiring of regional graduates for high-ranking Level 7 civil servant positions.



BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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