The National Institute for International Education (NIIED) has changed its admission procedures for the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP). A paper exam will be replaced by in-depth interviews, which will be effective this year when admissions interviews are held from June 16 to 18 for summer admission. Applications close on May 4.
The program, led by NIIED and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, was established in 1977 as a government led scholarship program to provide Korean graduate students with chances to study abroad.
It selects 40 recipients for each summer and winter; they each receive a $31,000 worth scholarship for two to three years, depending on the country they go to. So far, 1,999 students have benefited from the scholarship.
The program's former admission procedure was a test with two written sections: one to evaluate students' knowledge of Korean history and second-language efficiency, and another to assess students' knowledge of their major. The new interviews will be conducted by the KGSP committee to evaluate students' knowledge of their marjos and their learning attitude.
"The revised procedure aims to discover students' potential and learning enthusiasm rather than to focus on GPA," said Ahn Jeong-hyun of the International exchange training team at the NIIED.
Ahn says private scholarships like the Ilju Foundation and the Samsung Scholarship served as models for the change. Ahn said the revised procedure is revolutionary since it weighs students' potential than current grades by examining applicants' self-introductions and study proposals.
However, the change has created controversy among universities.
"Scholarship holders for the KGSP should be students of high ability. Potential is too subjective in terms of assessment," said Professor Park Jhung-soo (Public Administration) in an interview with the Chosun Ilbo.
However, some students are in favor of the KGSP's new admission system because it represents diversification in selecting scholarship students.
"Evaluating students' potential is a trend nowadays," said Chay Yoon-young (Law, 4). "Face-to-face interviews would be an efficient way to see students' true passion for learning."