Korea: President condemns foreign-language high schools

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Apr 9 13:45:05 UTC 2007

Change of 3-No Policy to Spoil Education: Roh

By Ryu Jin Staff Reporter

President Roh Moo-hyun said yesterday a change in the current education
policy would trigger a real crisis in an apparent attack on heads of major
universities calling for more freedom in recruiting students and accepting
donations. In a speech on the public educational television network EBS
yesterday, Roh said that it is wrong for some universities to demand the
abolishment of government regulations and greater autonomy. Often dubbed
as the ``three-nos policy, the government guidelines on education were
adopted to ensure more equality and fairness in a country where students
and parents are depending heavily on private education institutes outside

Universities have recently urged the government to give them freedom in
picking students under their own examination formula, not based on the
current state-run college entrance examination. Under the three-nos
policy, colleges are currently banned from managing their own tests except
essays, accepting donations in exchange for student admission, and ranking
students based on the academic performance of their high schools. ``Our
college entrance system is becoming a serious threat to the future of our
education, Roh said. ``A real crisis of education could come if we failed
to defend the three-nos policy.

He also condemned foreign language high schools, which he said ended up
being private institutes for college entrance examination study instead of
fostering foreign language specialists. ``People who have turned schools
into private institutes for only college entrance exams are now shaking
the governments education policy and, more fundamentally, the root of our
public education system, said the president. Rohs advocacy of the
three-nos policy comes at a time when a controversy over the governments
education policy has been spreading in the country, where people have an
undying passion for the education of their children.

Last month, the heads of some universities joined forces to urge the
government to scrap the policy, which they argue erodes South Korean
colleges competitiveness worldwide. Roh, however, asserted that a
withdrawal from the current policy would further deepen the monopoly of
key social and government posts by a few privileged classes and weaken the
countrys international competitiveness. ``Education should give
opportunities for everyone to climb up the ladder of social status and
move to a higher income bracket, he said.  ``Otherwise, our society would
be split in two in the end.

He once again stressed that the country should not drive young people to
the narrow gate of competition at universities. ``What creativity could we
expect from the students in such an educational environment? Roh said.



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