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Discussions on college entrance system to launch

Plan was announced after Moon brought up Cho Kuk controversy
Sept 03,2019
The Ministry of Education announced Monday it would launch discussions on reforming Korea’s college admissions system later this week upon the education minister’s return from her tour to Thailand with President Moon Jae-in.

The ministry’s statement came a day after Moon urged the government to review Korea’s “whole” college admissions system as he mentioned the hydra-headed scandal surrounding his nominee for justice minister, Cho Kuk.

Yoon Do-han, Moon’s senior secretary for public communication, told Blue House correspondents Sunday that Moon relayed the remark to high-level officials from the presidential office, government and ruling Democratic Party at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi before boarding his plane to Thailand, the first stop on his three-leg Southeast Asian tour.

“There’s controversy surrounding nominee Cho’s family. Review the whole college admissions system beyond this controversy,” Yoon quoted Moon as saying.

It was the first time Moon publicly said anything about any of the allegations against Cho and his family, though he made no specific mention of Cho’s daughter, who is at the center of suspicions that she was wrongly given credit in a medial research paper while she was a high school student and used that accomplishment to get into prestigious schools.

“There have been efforts to improve the admissions system, but there are still many people who think the admissions system is unfair and unjust,” Moon continued. The government “must face the point that the young generation who are unable to gain access to opportunities are deeply pained” by this.

Moon was said to have asked government officials to come up with “viable ways” to change the admissions system “based on reality, not idealism.”

Han Sang-shin, spokesman of the Education Ministry, said Monday during a regular press briefing that internal discussions on ways to improve the college admissions system will begin from Wednesday after Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae returns from her Thailand trip today.

“The college admissions system doesn’t change just by fixing college admissions, so [the ministry] will also look into high school education,” said Han. “The Education Ministry had been reviewing which aspects the public is skeptical of and where teenagers feel their opportunities are being stolen.”

Some experts believe the Education Ministry may reform the college admissions system by allowing more students to get into universities based on their College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) scores, known as the normal admissions track. The early admissions track, on the other hand, places lesser emphasis on CSAT scores while putting more weight on extracurricular activities and an applicant’s special skill sets. Cho’s daughter got into college through the latter course.

Cho’s daughter faces allegations that she was wrongly cited as the first author of an English-language research paper in the Korean Journal of Pathology in 2008 after a two-week internship at Dankook University while she was a high school student in Seoul and used that accomplishment to gain admission to Korea University in 2010 and Pusan National University’s medical school in 2015.

BY CHUN IN-SUNG, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]