South Korean education minister Lee Ju-ho said Monday the government-led university reform drive will continue, as the country imposed restructuring on public universities facing financial troubles.
"Some people seem to believe (the reform drive) is just a temporary measure put in place at the end of the administration's term, but it is absolutely not the case," Lee said at a meeting with the heads of 38 local universities. "Without reforms, the future of universities will be dark."
Higher learning institutions in the country will see a 40 percent drop in the number of college freshmen in 12 years, the minister added.
The remarks came after the government asked five underperforming public universities to draw up reform measures by January and put them under government supervision. It also plans to reduce state funding for 43 low-ranked private universities starting next year.
The South Korean government, increasingly under pressure to lower college tuition fees, reportedly spends some 1.48 billion U.S. dollars annually in state subsidies to local higher learning institutions.
More than 80 percent of South Korean high school graduates go to colleges.