[Analysis] Why do Korean college students obsess over admission into medical schools_

In Korea, the recognition of medical faculties has been quickly growing over the previous few many years, to the purpose the place the neatest college students within the nation abandon the science and know-how area and pursue profitable medical careers. In reality, in 2005, 2010, and 2023, medical faculties dominated the best 20 college admission rating rankings amongst pure science majors.

Within the Gangnam and Daechi space in southern Seoul, small teams of elite elementary faculty college students, often beneath ten college students per class, are chosen to attend tutoring academies to check forward in preparation for medical faculty. (Credit score: Getty Photographs)

An unprecedented phenomenon: parental aspirations and early preprations

In a current on-line survey carried out by Jongro Academy, the supervisor of a preparatory faculty for junior excessive and highschool college students, 88.2 p.c of 1,385 Korean mother and father elevating elementary and center faculty college students wished their kids to finally enroll in a medical faculty.

The fervor over enrolling in medical faculties in Korea is so nice that even major faculty college students partake in after-school applications to intensify their competitiveness beneath nice strain. Within the Gangnam and Daechi space in southern Seoul, small teams of elite elementary faculty college students, often beneath ten college students per class, are chosen to attend tutoring academies to check forward in preparation for medical faculty.

This monumental enthusiasm is mirrored within the growing quantity of highschool graduates retaking the Faculty Scholastic Means Take a look at (CSAT), or suneung, to be admitted to medical faculties.

In keeping with a report launched by Seoul Nationwide College, a prime college in Korea, 225 college students from a cohort of three,606 admitted freshmen selected to take a depart of absence simply this yr, apparently to retake the CSAT and enter a medical faculty.

A complete of 4,015 college students have voluntarily left Seoul Nationwide College, Korea College, and Yonsei College (SKY), thought-about to be probably the most prestigious universities in Korea, in 2023 alone, presumably to retake the CSAT. Out of the 6,699 seniors supplied admission to SKY in 2023, 2,206 college students didn’t in the end enroll arguably as a result of they wished to decide on a medical faculty over different science majors.

In keeping with the Ministry of Training, over 78.7 p.c of medical faculty admittees between 2020 and 2022 had taken the CSAT no less than twice. Which means solely 21.3 p.c of freshmen in medical faculty have been admitted straight of their senior yr of highschool.

Kim So-hee, a former lecturer at a check prep heart for the CSAT in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, and present personal tutor, stated that college students who drop out of such high-ranking universities “intention to grow to be medical college students.”

(Credit score: Getty Photographs)

Monetary safety: a driving issue

Uncertainty relating to the revenue potential of science and know-how jobs amplifies the attractiveness of pursuing a profession in drugs as a revered and profitable selection.

In keeping with the 2021 Nationwide Tax Service statistics, the typical annual wage of all staff was simply over $30,778. Even famend scientists corresponding to those that launched Korea’s first space-launch automobile Naro-1 on the Korea Aerospace Analysis Institute acquired, on common, $76,945.

Then again, the typical revenue of physicians in 2020 in response to the Ministry of Well being and Welfare was $177,511, which amounted to roughly 5 occasions the typical annual wage of all staff.

“It may possibly’t be denied that monetary stability is a part of what causes the over-concentration of medical college students”, stated Jeong Myung-yoon, a third-year resident at Gachon College Gil Medical Heart. “As a resident, I’m socially revered and financially secure.”

Certainly, 48.4 p.c of 246 medical college students from 14 universities stated that they selected a medical faculty for the excessive revenue it ensures in a 2023 survey carried out by Donga Ilbo, an area newspaper.

Kim Joong-baeck, a professor of sociology at Kyunghee College, stated, “Graduating from the government-protected medical faculty system guarantees a health care provider’s license and subsequently it ensures, greater than different jobs, a top quality of life above a sure degree,” in his current column “The Ghost of Medical Colleges.”

Employment stability: a safe profession path

Whereas the fabric consolation supplied by careers in drugs is undoubtedly a major issue, it might be inaccurate to recommend that college students are solely attracted to those professions for monetary causes. The peace of mind of employment stability additionally performs a vital function of their profession selections.

The will for stability is exemplified in college students’ lack of purposes for the semiconductor-related research division for the tutorial yr of 2023. The semiconductor division—in high-ranking universities like Yonsei College, Korea College, Sogang College, and Hanyang College —is in direct partnership with conglomerates corresponding to Samsung or SK, which assure employment aftergraduation.

Subsequently, at first look, evidently these mega-corporations supply each monetary and occupational stability. Nevertheless, the scholars who have been accepted into the division of semiconductor at these universities disagree, as out of 47 whole openings for freshmen, 47 admittees plus 26 further candidates allotted to the ready record didn’t register.

The company world, regardless of providing high-paying jobs, lacks ensures of continued employment, significantly in financial downturns when layoffs and firm restructuring grow to be prevalent. Conversely, pursuing a profession in drugs gives a security web for ongoing employment even in a progressively slowing financial system. Clinic-owning physicians aren’t certain by a set retirement age, permitting them to work for so long as mandatory.

In keeping with a report launched by the Medical Coverage Analysis Institute of the Korean Medical Affiliation (KMA), the typical retirement age of medical doctors was 65.2 years previous, whereas their concept of an acceptable retirement age was 67.7. Moreover, 59 p.c of at the moment retired medical doctors and people of their sixties answered that they intend to proceed working as a health care provider in their very own clinic after retirement.

As compared, the typical retirement age of all Korean staff was 49.3 in 2021, in response to a report by the Nationwide Meeting Futures Institute.

Kim, a third-year resident at Soonchunhyang College Seoul Hospital, commented that whereas she didn’t dream of turning into a health care provider, she selected to grow to be one as a result of “my CSAT scores have been increased than anticipated, and it assured monetary and occupational stability.”

The medical faculty black gap: affect on STEM skills

Though employment safety and secure revenue are essential concerns in job looking, the robust desire of scholars for careers in drugs has resulted in a scarcity of expertise in Science, Expertise, Engineering, and Arithmetic (STEM).

This phenomenon, by which probably the most clever and high-scoring Korean college students select medical faculty over STEM, is known as “the medical faculty black gap.”

All three college students who acquired good scores in CSAT for the 2023 tutorial yr selected to attend Seoul Nationwide College’s Faculty of Medication.

Jongro Academy stated 1,105 college students—enrolled in Pohang College of Science and Expertise (POSTECH) and the 4 main science and know-how institutes together with Korea Superior Institute of Science & Expertise (KAIST)—dropped out during the last 5 years. About 80 p.c of those college students have enrolled in medical faculties by retaking CSAT.

The medical faculty black gap makes it extraordinarily troublesome to safe human sources in STEM.

This example is mirrored within the predicament of science excessive faculties, that are established for the categorical objective of fostering college students with expertise and keenness for STEM that may contribute to the event and progress of such industries in Korea. Nevertheless, in recent times, 1 out of 8 graduates from science excessive faculties have utilized to grow to be medical college students.

In response, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo presided over the Human Assets Improvement Technique Assembly held in Might of this yr. Through the assembly, the federal government proposed measures to ensure the authorized standing of post-doctoral researchers and additional increase the personnel expenditure and scholarship system for grasp’s and doctorate researchers in STEM.

Professor Lee Jin-hyung, affiliate professor of neurology and neurological sciences and bioengineering at Stanford College, expressed her remorse over the truth that gifted people in Korea are congregating in medical faculties in an interview with Donga Science on July 6.

Lee is the primary Korean lady to earn the title of a tenured professor at Stanford College’s medical and engineering schools. She research interdisciplinary approaches to the event of recent therapies for neurological ailments. She additionally based LVIS, a U.S. healthcare startup, in 2015.

“After I was in class, there have been outstanding insurance policies aimed to foster STEM, however these days, many individuals shrink back from the trail of turning into a scientist,” she stated.

“From the angle of the scientific neighborhood, it’s a very regrettable state of affairs that so many gifted college students are all going to medical faculty.”