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SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Sunday ordered a review of the country's college entrance system in the wake of allegations that the daughter of his justice minister nominee used illicit means to get into an elite college.
It was Moon's first public comment on mounting criticism over suspicions that justice minister nominee Cho Kuk's daughter won college admission thanks in part to a medical school academic paper in which she was unduly credited as the first writer while she was attending high school.
"A controversy is underway surrounding the family of nominee Cho. Beyond this controversy, it is required to reexamine the college entrance system as a whole," Moon told officials before departing on a trip to Southeast Asia, according to Yoon Do-han, senior Cheong Wa Dae secretary for public communication.
Noting that unfair factors in the education system have caused deep wounds to young people who were deprived of chances, the president called for efforts to uphold the value of fairness in the field, Yoon added.
The burgeoning dispute surrounding the justice minister nominee gave rise to candlelight protests among university students and triggered concerns in some quarters that Moon's drive for social fairness and justice could be overshadowed.
Observers said that Moon's remarks on Sunday signaled his resolve to explore a fundamental solution to shore up fairness in the education field.
"The value of fairness is not confined only to the economic realm. It should be a priority task for other social areas, including particularly the education sector," Moon was quoted as saying.
"Explore a viable method based on the reality rather than being skewed toward idealism," he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition and ruling parties failed to finalize a detailed plan for the parliamentary confirmation hearing for Cho. They had previously agreed to hold a two-day hearing starting on Monday but did not decide on details.
The presidential office is expected to request a parliamentary confirmation hearing report on Tuesday, a move that suggests he could press ahead with the controversial appointment.
Cho's official appointment does not require parliamentary approval, but it could impose a political burden on himself and the president.
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