Students against cut in civil service exam jobs

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Students against cut in civil service exam jobs

After the government announced it would shrink its quota of the civil service examination, a recruitment test taken to gain high-level government positions, a petition signed by 2,156 people was filed to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration yesterday.

President Park Geun-hye said May 19 that the government will hire less high-level government officials through the exam and will instead recruit more candidates with appropriate work experience or expertise in certain fields. The measure was announced after the Sewol ferry disaster brought up the “gwanfia” problem, which the government wants to solve by hiring suitable applicants as and when it needs.

Since the sinking of the Sewol on April 16, Park has emphasized rooting out the “bureaucratic mafia,” or “gwanfia,” a term coined by the public who are appalled at the rampant corruption stemming from dubious decades-old connections between the shipping industry and public offices ahead of the disaster. The word is a portmanteau of the Korean word for officials, gwalyo, and mafia.

After submitting the complaint to the ministry, Lee Hyeon-jeong, a 23-year-old university student, and three others who have prepared for the government employee examination, said they are protesting the announcement because the government did not take public opinion into consideration.

The new system will eliminate opportunities to climb the career ladder and may cause corruption between private and public sectors, the petitioners said.

Lee has gathered signatures for the petition from May 20, a day after the president’s announcement, to last Monday by putting up petitions for people to sign at cram schools and bookstores in Sillim-dong, southwestern Seoul.

The neighborhood is famous for its cram schools specializing in test preparations, including the government employee exam.

“Though those studying for the test have led the campaign, people who are not related to the test have participated as well,” said Lee. “We have submitted the complaint with 2,156 signatures, but we are planning to file it again with more signatures later.”


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