December 01, 2017 12:47
The Education Ministry wants to reduce the university entrance quota by 20,000 by 2021, it said Thursday.
After being evaluated based on various factors, universities will be divided by region and classified into three tiers. The top 60 percent will not have to reduce their freshmen intake, but lower-ranking universities will have to reflect the dwindling number of school-leavers.
"We will minimize government intervention and reflect market logic," the ministry said.
The remaining 40 percent will go through another assessment process and will be advised to reduce their budgets or risk losing state support for student loans and national scholarships.
The ministry hopes that this will bring down freshmen numbers by 20,000 students from 2019 to 2021.
"The number of students applying for college admissions in 2021 is already expected to decline by 34,000 compared to 2018," said Lee Hae-sook at the ministry. "But only 20,000 of them will be reduced through government inspections and the rest left to schools so that non-competitive ones are weeded out by market forces."
The law prevents the government from closing down universities simply because they underperform. Instead, the ministry selects the worst-performing universities with irregularities in management and unstable financial situations. They will be given an opportunity to clean up their act or face closure.
Successive governments have tried to deal with the problem of private "Mickey Mouse" universities that suck up public subsidies but exist purely for profit or the greater glory of their proprietors, but with little success so far.
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