National University Integration: Benefit or Burdern?
National University Integration: Benefit or Burdern?
  • Reporter Jeong Yoon-han
  • 승인 2017.10.11 23:13
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National universities in South Korea were established by the South Korean government to provide higher education for aiding the development of the country. There are a total of ten Flagship Korean National Universities, one for each metropolitan city: Seoul National University (SNU), Pusan National University (PNU), Kyungpook National University, Chonnam National University, Kangwon National University, Chonbuk National University, Chungbuk National University, Chungnam National University, Gyeongsang National University, Jeju National University. The South Korean government is now trying to integrate nine of the colleges into one.
Integrating National Universities was President Moon Jae-in’s pledge. The purpose of the integration is to relieve each university of their ranks and ultimately reduce private education costs through supporting the National Universities even more. Out of the 10 National Universities, nine of them are participating in integrating the universities. SNU has been exempted.
If the nine universities succeed in integrating, the changes are as follows. Above all, the nine colleges use a unified college name and select freshmen in cooperation with each other. Also, they share their college campus, meaning the students can move from one campus to another to take classes.
No matter how nice the purpose is, the process is very complex. Opinions from universities vary and students’ voice cannot be ignored as well. The Ministry of Education (MOU) has promised the integration and is investigating the best solution for the National University Network.
However, the voices of concern are endless. Some say this will lead to reverse discrimination. Students of National Universities are already being supported by the South Korean government. The integration will cause the MOU to fund the National Universities even more to reduce tuition fees and eventually prevent saturation in universities of capital areas, leaving smaller-size National Universities with less attention and support. The small size National Universities are being marginalized from the government’s policy, making them less competitive. Critics say supporting bigger-size colleges even more is reversely discriminating the smaller-size schools.
Some worry about the integration being standardized downward. The average freshmen’s test scores of nine universities vary. Therefore, there are problems to face when it comes to recruiting freshmen. Without specified plans, the integration could lead to standardized downward, the exact opposite of the purpose of leveling upward.
Along with the difference of freshmen’s skills of each university, it is merely impossible to think they will share equal power. It is plausible that one university takes the pivot role when integrating and this could lead to more issues as universities’ view toward integration are different. For example, PNU has said “Cooperation and combination are two different things” from the beginning of negotiation, expressing their opposition toward integration.