Where is the Final Destination for Korean Universities?
Where is the Final Destination for Korean Universities?
  • 김선화 기자
  • 승인 2016.09.03 09:00
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After the Kim Young-Sam government and the liberalization of the private university establishment, there was a sudden university increase in Korea. Currently the government ranks universities and are implementing university structural reform in effort to reduce the number of universities. In last few years, our university has had a tough time because of the university structural reform

In The Seowon News, we are going to introduce and compare Korea's university education policy with the university education of Canada. What are the differences between Korean and Canadian university education policies?

The enthusiasm for education in Canada is as high as it is in Korea. Canadians highly respect the ethnic background of each individual. Each state independently implements its education goals based on the ethnicity populations of that state.

Moreover, they consider individual scores rather than look at the ranking score of the students. On student report cards, an evaluation score is recorded instead of rank-ing. Also, classes are classified as essay writing and debating in contrast with the Korean lecture method of instruction.

In Korea, it's too silent during announcement time. Students are aware of how other students are looking at one

another excessively and consequently they do not participate in asking questions. This leads to students to missing out on information they may need. Canadians on the other hand think highly of and acknowledge individuals' opinions. They argue their own thoughts freely. Also, Canadian university resumes and graduate school admissions don't require attached pictures and ages.

An advantage of Canadian universities is that there are chances to search for a job even if  they have studied for just a short time. For instance, as part of a co-up program they have the option to find and use work as a way to complete their studies. Also, the Canadian academic level is high and is regarded by many counties as high quality. So it is easy to be included in U.S. universities if you study in Canada.

Canada already has standardizations on universities so there are few universities to enter and they don't consider the university’s name as important as Korea does. In addition, almost all universities in each state's ministry of education have few universities to manage. Because Canada has two official languages English and French, students are obligated to study both languages in college. Also, Canadian universities tuition is cheaper than in Korea. All educational institutions of Canada are supported by the federal government and the state administration.

Let's compare university students of Canada and Korea. If you ask Canadian students what they think about high school and university they will say that high school is a time for learning how to play well, communicate and hangout. They think that university time is when it’s time to study hard. Korean students have an opposite way of thinking about school. They think that high school is a time to study hard so that they can enter a good university and then they can relax and play after they have entered a university. In Korea, universities tend to look on transfer student with a negative eye but in Canada there's no discrimination about the prior school and transferring is free.

I requested university students to share what they about problems they see in Korean university education policies. One student replied, “It's common, especially in local universities, to close departments or cut enrollment of compulsory courses.” A quote from the article Saenuri Party, Kim Seon-Dong said, “If the current situation continues, local universities are worried that they will become insolvent.” He referenced the university structural reform law. This is one of the major issues current Korean universities are facing. China implemented university structural reforms starting in 1996 and it took five years to have the system in place. By reducing university students to a fixed number we can improve the quality of university education.

To overcome these problems Korea will need much time and effort. The problems are very complex. First of all, the current university policy in Korea is not helpful to students. A university is a place which plays an important role that fosters learning and develops one's skills to demonstrate in society. Does the current university structural reform match up with this purpose? No. Still, members of the National Assembly push ahead with a plausible new policy without a plan to deal with potential problems that may arise. Studying people are students, not members of the National Assembly.

Students should come first. Students must pass such a big gateway to enter a university. Ranking every school and reducing schools to a fixed number is same thing as kicking students out on the street. At first, there were no problems when limits were decided by schools and department establishments. Form any students, after they are released from the army, enter a school and pay tuition, the department disappears or is obligated to reduce enrollment to a fixed number. This sort of thing should never happen.


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