World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Skills of North Korean defectors no value in South

Northern Skills Have No Value in South

While a tiny number of North Korean defectors earn high-status jobs here, others complain that professional skills learned in the North go unrecognized in the South.

Huh Myung-hui, 27, became the first North Korean woman to earn a license to practice medicine in South Korea after graduating from Yonsei University this year. Ms. Huh ― not her real name, which she did not want to give to prevent repercussions against relatives still in the North ― did not want to be interviewed or her picture to be taken.

But another North Korean defector recently admitted to a South Korean oriental medicine school said she wished more defectors could continue to practice professions they formerly held in the North. The South does not recognize their qualifications or experiences.

Acupuncturist Kim Ji-eun, 39, filed a petition with the National Assembly last August asking the South Korean government that she be allowed to transfer to a medical school here.

Born in North Hamgyeong province, she studied at a college there that qualified her as a traditional medicine specialist. She worked as an oriental medicine doctor for eight years in North Korea until she defected South in 2002. But her qualifications were not recognized here. She had forgotten to pack her licenses when she fled.

"Through a person I knew in China, I received employment certificates from hospitals I used to work at and turned them in," Ms. Kim said. "But I was not given the chance to take the South Korean medical examination, nor allowed to enter a college here."

But in the South, a medicine major must pass a state-run examination to earn a license; in the North, a medical school graduate automatically becomes a doctor.

"There is no way to prove what defectors studied or whether they were educated properly," said Kwon Yong-jin, a spokesperson for the Korean Medical Association. "It is dangerous to let an unconfirmed person practice medicine."

JoongAng Ilbo
Im Jang-hyuk, Jeong Kang-hyun

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news