The South Korean government has accepted a request from the rectors of six national universities to have flexibility when expanding the admission quota in medical schools, as announced by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. This is a decision that has raised hopes for an end to the long-running strike by trainee doctors.

The National Universities of Kangwon, Kyungpook, Gyeongsang, Chungnam, Chungbuk and Jeju, all located outside the capital region, made the request to be allowed to reduce their allocated quota by 50 percent next year. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the country’s 13,000 trainee doctors have abandoned their jobs in general hospitals since February 20, protesting the government’s decision to increase the total annual admissions of hospitals by 2,000 places. medical schools, starting next year.

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“The Government accepts, with a view to the future, the suggestion of the rectors of the national universities,” commented the prime minister at a press conference after the government meeting.

In accordance with the decision, which is considered practically a compromise, 32 universities will be allowed to freely increase their admission quota with the margin of the annual increase ranging between 50 and 100 percent starting in 2025.

Han emphasized that the decision is aimed at breaking the deadlock, protecting medical students and normalizing medical education, after procedures and surgeries have been canceled at major hospitals across the country.

The prime minister announced that the Government cannot afford to leave the damage caused by the medical vacuum unaddressed and added that universities must decide on their increase in quota by the end of this month.

Amid the stalemate, the presidential office had hinted at an adjustment in the number of additional admissions, which currently stands at 2,000.


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