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The education ministry will aim to make high school education free for everyone by 2017
as part of efforts to implement President-elect Park Geun-hye's campaign pledges on education policy, officials said Tuesday.

Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology reported the plan to the presidential transition committee during a policy briefing earlier in the day, saying that it would expand the current program that provides free education only to students in vocational schools or from low-income families.

These groups account for about a third of all high schoolers.

If realized, the plan will help ensure all children aged 3-17 receive free childcare and education before the end of Park's administration. The outgoing government is pushing to provide free childcare services to all children aged 3 to 5.

On Park's pledge to halve the burden of college tuition fees, the ministry said it expects to be able to give scholarships to all students in the bottom 30 percent income bracket within this year, a year ahead of schedule.

Ministry officials also reported plans to implement Park's pledge to exempt middle school students from taking exams for one semester during which they will be able to explore possible career paths.

Based on Park's pledge to launch a new ministry overseeing the science and technology industry, the officials said they plan to increase investment in scientific research and development to 5 percent of gross domestic product. 

Yonhap News via Korean Heral
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