The Korea Herald


Govt. to set up support plans for medical schools to prepare for quota hike

By Yonhap

Published : May 26, 2024 - 10:13

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An empty classroom of a medical school in Seoul (Yonhap) An empty classroom of a medical school in Seoul (Yonhap)

The government plans to introduce measures to support medical schools as they prepare for an increased number of freshmen starting next year, medical sources said Sunday, amid concerns that the hike could compromise the quality of education.

The government plans to announce comprehensive measures to assist universities based on their specific needs within the first half of the year, according to the sources.

Last week, the Korean Council for University Education, an association of university presidents, approved an increase in next year's medical school admission quota, finalizing the first such hike in 27 years.

The decision came more than three months after the government announced the plan to add 2,000 more seats to the medical school quota starting next year to address the shortage of doctors in critical areas.

The health ministry earlier said the government will proactively offer support to medical schools, including hiring more professors and securing more classrooms and equipment.

The Korea Medical Association, the largest doctors' organization protesting the reform plan, has been insisting that the increase, implemented without specific plans, will lead to the collapse of both the education and medical systems.

About 12,000 trainee doctors, meanwhile, have remained off the job since Feb. 20 in protest of the plan to raise the medical school admission quota, causing disruptions at general hospitals and emergency rooms.

The government is also deliberating on whether to punish doctors participating in the strike. Health authorities had previously vowed to suspend their licenses for three months, but this plan was halted ahead of the parliamentary elections in April. (Yonhap)