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Lee calls for end to prejudices against non-college graduates
SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak called for an end to prejudices and discrimination against non-college graduates, stressing Monday that such deep-rooted perceptions lead too many people to seek college education and cause a number of social and economic problems.

   In South Korea, nearly 80 percent of high school students go to college due to the widespread social practice of judging one's abilities based on one's academic background. This so-called academic inflation has been a chronic social problem in the country.

   It has been one of Lee's top policy goals to tear down such discrimination and promote employment of high school graduates without college education, along with his campaign to make South Korea a fairer society and narrow social inequalities.

   "It is true that there are still deep-rooted prejudices about educational backgrounds in our society," Lee said during a joint opening ceremony for seven "meister" high schools, state-funded vocational schools launched by the Lee administration to produce a skilled workforce.

   "The excessive academic inflation is causing a lot of social and economic problems," he said.

   Monday's opening brought to 28 the total number of meister schools after 21 opened in 2010.

   The education system aims to give students technical education and apprenticeship so that they can develop expertise in particular fields including shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, semiconductors and medical equipment.

   jschang@yna.co.kr
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