SEOUL, - South Korea's Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong announced on Thursday that the country will start gradually increasing the medical school enrollment quota beginning in 2025. The move is aimed at tackling the chronic shortage of doctors, particularly in provincial areas.
According to a new release by the Yonhap News Agency, Cho told reporters that universities with the capacity to increase their enrollment will be allowed to do so starting in 2025. The minister also mentioned ongoing plans to establish new medical schools in provinces.
The current enrollment quota for medical schools has been capped at 3,058 since 2006. Data from the health ministry indicates that the number of doctors per 1,000 people in South Korea stands at 2.2, which is far below the average of 3.7 among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Cho also addressed concerns that merely increasing enrollment quotas will not resolve all issues, saying, "Our policy goal is to encourage doctors to actively participate in regional and essential services." The minister added that the government is also considering measures to improve the working conditions and compensation for doctors.