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Lee praises technicians, pledges to promote employment of non-college graduates

All Headlines 16:23 October 21, 2011

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak hosted a luncheon for hundreds of technicians Friday, lauding their success in international skills competitions and pledging to work to promote the employment of technician job seekers without college diplomas.

The lunch was organized to mark South Korea's winning of both the WorldSkills Competition, the world's largest vocational skills competition, and a similar event for the disabled last month. It was the third straight time that South Korea has won the biennial WorldSkills after 2007 and 2009.

"It is because of people like you that our country has become the world's 10th largest economic power from a poor country," Lee said. "Who makes all the cars, ships, semiconductors and electronic products? They are all made by people like you."

Lee said the government is considering seeking an agreement from major business lobbies that they would increase the hiring of those who graduate from technical and other vocational high schools without college diplomas.

The move is in line with Lee's campaign to counter discrimination against non-college graduates.

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. The so-called academic inflation has been a chronic social problem in the country.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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