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Minister urges med schools to get on schedule with expansion plans

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : May 20, 2024 - 15:47

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Education Minister Lee Ju-ho speaks at an online meeting held Monday with presidents of 40 medical schools nationwide to urge them to normalize the education process. (Yonhap) Education Minister Lee Ju-ho speaks at an online meeting held Monday with presidents of 40 medical schools nationwide to urge them to normalize the education process. (Yonhap)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Lee Ju-ho urged medical universities in South Korea Monday to swiftly adopt the government revision of the academic plan for 2025, which would finalize the remaining procedures to augment the medical enrollment quota.

At an online briefing held with the presidents of 40 medical schools nationwide, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that "revising the university regulations due to the government's decision to increase the medical admission seats is the obligation of schools that they must adhere to according to the High Education Act."

He also pointed to the Seoul High Court's recent decision to reject an injunction sought by the medical community to halt the implementation of the hike plan, noting that "the judiciary recognizes the need for health care reform and expanding medical school seats for the public welfare and universities should reflect this in their regulations."

Of the 32 medical schools allocated additional enrollment slots for next year, 15 universities have completed their revised plans to admit additional medical students next year, including Euljin University, Hallym University, Chonnam National University and the University of Ulsan.

Lee also laid out plans for the implementation, adding that "the Korean Council for University Education will notify the results of the 2025 academic revised plan for each university that they have reviewed within next week."

Each university will announce its finalized enrollment guidelines on its website by the end of this month, including admission units and majors, the number of applicants it expects to accept, how it will conduct its recruitment and how it will consider high school students' records and results of the Suneung, Korea's national college entrance exam.

The Education Minister also implored the school presidents to persuade medical students who are refusing to attend classes.

"We urge universities to counsel students individually, sensitively guiding them through the difficulties they will face in returning to school after missing their first semester,” he said.

Medical students walked out of classrooms in protest against the government's plan to increase the medical school enrollment quota in February.

Medical schools nationwide have also postponed medical practice classes for senior students due to concerns that students might be held back due to absences as many medical students have gone on a collective class boycott this semester.

“Universities are exploring several options, including the expansion of online learning, intensive courses and flexible semesters, and the government will work with universities to ensure that there are minimal disadvantages for students returning to school.”