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Korea signs off on new med school quotas

May 24, 2024 - 16:44 By Choi Jeong-yoon
A citizen passes by a medical college in Seoul, on Friday while the Korean Council for University Education held a university admissions committee meeting. (Yonhap)

South Korea took a step toward realizing its plan to increase the number medical school places for 2025 Friday, with the approval of university plans to boost admissions.

The Korean Council for University Education held a university admissions committee meeting Friday to review the revised plans of each university on how much they will raise their medical school enrollment quotas for the 2025 academic year.

Specific details are yet to be revealed, but plans submitted by each university have been approved Friday, giving acceleration for schools to augment admission seats next year.

The increased number of seats for 40 medical schools nationwide amounts to 4,567, up 1,509 from the current quota, according to the Education Ministry.

This marks the first medical school quota hike in 27 years since the establishment of a medical school at Jeju University. The limit has been capped at 3,058 students per year since 2006. The number was a reduction from 3,507, to assuage doctors protesting the policy of separating the prescribing and dispensing of drugs at the time.

During Friday's meeting, the committee reviewed how each university will implement the plan, from detailing how the school will select the increased number of students to a proportion of recruitments, such as advantaging students from local and rural areas.

With the Korean Council for University Education approving the implementation plan, the universities will publish the application guidelines on their websites by May 31.

The country has been impacted by a monthslong health care shortage as junior doctors have walked out of hospitals in protest against the government's expansion plan when it was announced in early February.

Over 90 percent of trainee doctors left hospitals while professors at medical universities resigned en masse, some taking a day off a week.

Only 5 percent of some 13,000 trainee doctors at 100 training hospitals are reported to be on duty as of Tuesday, according to the government.