Seoul National University Medical Professors Threaten Mass ResignationMedical Students Across South Korea Boycott Classes Over Enrollment Quota Increase

Seoul - The medical faculty at Seoul National University (SNU) has declared their intention to resign en masse should the government fail to negotiate an end to the ongoing strike by trainee doctors. This announcement came after an online meeting involving professors from three SNU-affiliated hospitals, signaling a significant escalation in the dispute over medical education and healthcare staffing in South Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the decision to potentially resign was made by a substantial participation of faculty members, reflecting widespread discontent with the government's proposal to increase medical school admissions. This proposal has already led nearly 12,000 intern and resident doctors to abandon their posts, intensifying pressures on the healthcare system.

The council's emergency committee has stated that the professors will proceed with their resignation submissions starting next Monday unless the government engages in earnest negotiations to resolve the conflict. While the professors have pledged to maintain care for critical patients, their collective resignation could severely impact hospital operations nationwide.

The situation at SNU mirrors wider unrest within the medical community, with faculties at Sungkyunkwan University and the Catholic University of Korea also considering similar actions. This developing crisis underscores the growing tension between healthcare professionals and the South Korean government over medical training and resource allocation.

Seoul - Officials announced on Monday that students from 10 medical schools in South Korea are boycotting classes, a protest against the government's recent decision to increase medical school enrollment quotas. This move, aimed at addressing a nationwide doctor shortage, has sparked significant unrest among the student body, with concerns rising over potential widespread grade retention.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the boycotts come in response to plans to add 2,000 medical seats to the existing 3,058, aiming to alleviate the shortage of medical professionals. This decision has led to the postponement of the new semester at 30 other medical schools, with only 10 institutions commencing as scheduled. The ministry expressed concerns that continued boycotts could result in many students failing to advance to the next academic year, as medical schools typically mandate attendance for a minimum of two-thirds to three-fourths of classes.

At Hallym University in Chuncheon, students have been warned they will receive a failing grade if they do not return to class by Thursday, due to not meeting the required minimum attendance. Despite these strict regulations, universities are seeking alternative solutions to fulfill academic requirements and avoid mass grade retention.

Education Minister Lee Ju-ho has extended an invitation to the Korean Medical Student Association for discussions, aiming to normalize the academic schedule and safeguard students' right to education. The ministry's efforts underscore the challenges faced in implementing the quota increase while maintaining educational standards.

As the protest unfolds, the number of medical students taking leaves of absence has surged, with 5,446 officially recorded as of Sunday. This figure represents nearly 29 percent of the total medical student population in South Korea, highlighting the significant impact of the enrollment quota controversy on the medical education sector.

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