Among 27 universities that adopted American-style medical colleges, 22 are returning to the School of Medicine system, including Ewha, according to a report from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST).
“Whether the universities will keep or discard the new system was their own choice,” said Kim Jae-kyung, the deputy director of the Graduate School Support Department at the MEST.
Under the medical-college system, the MEST gave individual universities from one billion won to four billion won for switching to American-style programs. Ewha received 1.46 billion of the total 38.9 billion won given out spread over past six years.
“From the introduction of medical college, the MEST had each school to come to a conclusion whether to use the new system by 2010. There will not be a penalty for (switching back), but the financial support for medical colleges from the ministry of education will stop,” Kim said.
To recruit doctors from diverse academic backgrounds, the American-style four-year medical-college system allowed all students with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education to apply regardless of their undergraduate majors.
Universities that adopted the American-style system were allowed to maintain both the School of Medicine and add a medical college.
However, among the 27 universities which implemented the medical college, 15 discontinued the School of Medicine, including Ewha. The Ewha School of Medicine stopped admitting new students in 2007.
Schools now reversing their policy are worried that abolishing the Schools of Medicine made it harder to find and retain outstanding students.
“Ewha came to a conclusion that the undergraduate course would help school to retain outstanding students. Also, the School of Medicine system reduces the financial budget,” said Chung Hee-jung in the Office of Plan.
Ewha submitted its final decision of returning back to the system of School of Medicine on Oct. 22 after casting a ballot among the professors in the department. 70 percent of professors agreed on returning the system to the School of Medicine.
“We decided to collect and follow the opinion of professors in the medical college. We have also gone through council meeting and headquarter conference,” Chung said.
Universities going back to the old system will allow students already enrolled in medical colleges to finish their studies. Busan University, for example, will completely close its medical college and reopen its School of Medicine starting in 2017. Ewha has not yet set specific dates.
Schools retaining medical colleges include Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Kangwon National University, Konkuk University, Dongguk University and Jeju National University.