Brain Drain in POSTECH - Why I Choose Medical School over Laboratory?
Brain Drain in POSTECH - Why I Choose Medical School over Laboratory?
  • Reporter Lee Suh-young
  • 승인 2012.10.17 17:20
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While 68% of POSTECH undergraduates think they will go to graduate school, slightly over half (38%) of the students in Life Science major have continued their career path in research during the last five years. The other half of those students find themselves in medical, dentistry or pharmaceutical schools.
It is not a new trend that talented science and engineering major students give up going to graduate schools and enroll in medical or dental schools, instead. Several years ago, a POSTECH student who graduated with honors made headlines by transferring to a medical school.
“About half of my classmates prepared for MEET (Medical Education Eligibility Test), and half of the students who prepared for the test got into medical schools,” said an anonymous graduate of Life Science.
Discussions over converting medical colleges into medical schools first arose in the early 1990s and the Presidential Commission for the New Education Community attempted to introduce medical schools. The professional Graduate Medical School was established in 2003 to train doctors that had better humanities and various educational backgrounds. Despite these attempts, many top universities wanted to reintroduce the medical college system; the improvement Committee of Medical & Dental Education determined to grant universities the freedom to adopt medical schools on July.
Starting next year, universities have to decide between a medical college and a medical school system. Among the 27 universities which once converted to a medical school or managed a medical college and a medical school at the same time, only five universities determined to continue the medical school system. The other 22 universities, including Seoul National University, reintroduced the medical college system. In fact, the 2010 freshmen are the last students for the current medical school system.


The bottom line is not money. Many students argue that money is not the be-all end-all of employment satisfaction; thus, scholarships or funding alone cannot solve this exodus. This mindset is contrary to that which drives the government policy on merit-based scholarship programs, which aim to help develop talent in the science and engineering fields.
“It is naive to think that students who go to medical schools should pay back the National Science and Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship.”
The National Science and Engineering Undergraduate Scholarship, which aims to help develop talent for significant future contributions to the science and engineering fields, is a full-scholarship that covers a student’s tuition for up to four years. Half of POSTECH undergraduates are currently receiving this scholarship.
“Accepting this scholarship does not obligate students to go to graduate schools in science and engineering instead of medical schools. If the government really wants to develop talent for significant future contributions to the science and engineering fields, it should support graduate students directly.” 
On the other hand, students agreed that the reason they move to medical, dentistry or pharmaceutical schools is the absence of vision in the field of science and technology.
“Compared to the time and effort invested, engineers receive little respect,?said a graduate of Life Science who recently got an admission letter from the Catholic University of Korea, School of Medicine. “I liked science as a child and chose to major in life science. However, I realized that it is hardly possible to earn the significant results despite devoting one’s entire lifetime to research. I also could not find a mentor in this filed.”
Professor, Cho, Yunje of the Department of Life Science said “From my point of view, if students can find their career vision, as a professor, I should bless the students, even if they leave to medical schools. For the future development, the research field should be made more attractive and it’s not the sole role of students, professors, or the government to do so. It’s the role of the entire society.”