South Korea’s university admissions council has approved an increase in admission quotas at medical schools for next year, finalizing the first increase of its kind in 27 years, aimed at addressing the shortage of medical services. in rural areas and essential medical fields.

The approval by the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE), an association of university presidents, came more than three months after Yoon Suk Yeol’s government announced a plan to add 2,000 places to the university quota. medical schools, starting next year, as part of a broader initiative to medical reform.

In March, the Ministry of Education allocated 2,000 additional admission places to medical schools to universities, many of them outside the Seoul metropolitan area. The beneficiary universities have since modified their admission regulations for next year, with the aim of accommodating the increase and to present them to the council for approval.

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Including an increase of 40 places at Cha University, which is not a member of the council, the total increase will be 1,509. This will bring the total number of places in medical schools nationwide to 4,567.

The total approved increase is below the 2,000 places initially announced, because some universities have chosen not to fully use their allocated increases, amidst fierce resistance from the doctors in practice and medical students, who are protesting the increase in quota.

Universities are expected to publicly announce their 2025 admissions plans by late May or early June, making the highly controversial fee increase final and irreversible.

However, it is not clear whether the completion of the quota increase will cause trainee doctors who are on strike return to their duties in general hospitals.

For more than three months, more than 90 percent of interns and residents have been on strike, protesting the increase in medical fees. They claim that the measure will seriously undermine the quality of health care services and medical education.


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