Widening Gap in College Admission and Improving Equal Opportunity in South Korea
25 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2014 Last revised: 25 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 1, 2014
As private education becomes widespread over the last decade in South Korea, the education gap among regions and social classes, noticeably widens. The recent global financial crisis exacerbates the problem as the rich continues to utilize more private education while the poor utilizes it less. For the first time, we confirm the widening gap in academic achievement and college admission in recent years by using source materials on Korea’s College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) and students admitted to Seoul National University (SNU). We also present a simple theory that suggests as the influence of socioeconomic background and educational environment on the entrance exam score rises over that of innate talents, labor productivity of overall society appears to decline. Controlling for student talent by using the scholastic ranking of the 2nd year of middle school, we show that the socioeconomic status and learning environment exert a considerable influence on all college admissions criteria in this country. Finally, we discuss the importance of voluntary efforts by universities for expanding equal opportunity in higher education, as well as the government’s response to the growing gap in college admissions.
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