SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korean universities have asked the government to double the medical school fees by 2030, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Tuesday, amid growing calls for a drastic increase in the number of students to respond to the looming shortage of doctors.
Local universities have urged a significant increase of some 4,000 places in medical school fees by 2030, according to a recent two-week survey by the ministry.
The universities said the number should be raised immediately, by about 2,100 to 2,800, for next year’s university entrance examination.
South Korea has been trying to expand the quota of medical schools, held at 3,058 since 2006, possibly by around 1,000 places, amid growing concerns about a shortage of doctors, particularly in provincial areas.
The Government intends to determine the quota for medical schools after carrying out a comprehensive review of the infrastructure and capabilities of local universities.
According to data provided by the ministry, the number of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants is currently 2.2, which is much lower than the average of 3.7 for the member countries of the Organization for Cooperation and Development. Economic Development (OECD, according to its acronym in English).
Doctors have been strongly protesting against the government’s move to increase the number of medical students, saying it should instead explore ways to increase compensation for doctors in critical care units.