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   Minister pledges to reform college admission polic
   6545    2011-02-25
source : Korea Herald

24 Feb,2010

Lee stresses lower difficulty in written tests and development of new ways to find talented students

The government will keep trying to make the college entrance exam easier, while encouraging schools to accept students with different talents, Education Minister Lee Ju-ho said Thursday.

“It’s not appropriate that one or two points make a difference in college admission. Along with easier questions, various ways to select talented students will be developed,” he said during a news conference, assessing the education policy of President Lee Myung-bak, who marks his third anniversary in office Friday.

Last week, the ministry announced a new college admission plan to adjust the difficulty of the college entrance exam so that 1 percent of students would get a full mark in one subject.

In the 2010 exam, the percentage of students attaining perfect scores was 0.06 percent in language, 0.02 percent in mathematics and 0.21 percent in the English section.

Amid doubts over the idea’s feasibility, Lee said, “It has been confirmed to be possible through two pretests. The ministry will adopt a consistent policy focused on assessment of children’s potential and creativity rather than test scores.”

He added that information on the level and content of exam questions will be more available to students, particularly through the state-run education television network EBS.

Lee also emphasized that universities should strengthen their own student selection capabilities, calling the admissions officer system a success.

Admissions officers evaluate and sort talented students into different fields in the system aimed at easing excessive educational competition.

“The change in middle and high schools is also important. If the different talents of children are assessed properly under the public education system, they and their parents would be less obsessed with test grades,” he said.

Other than the reform in the college admission policy, the ministry pointed out some progress has been made in extending educational benefits to more students and in reducing expenditure on private education.

About the speculation that he could run for next year’s general election, Lee made it clear that he had no intention to join politics any time soon, saying “I’ll push forward educational reforms.” He took office in August.

During the presidential campaign in 2008, Lee, 50, led the educational reform committee of President Lee Myung-bak.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldm.com)
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