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[Opinion] Social Responsibilities of Prestigious Private Universities

[Opinion] Social Responsibilities of Prestigious Private Universities

Posted July. 11, 2001 10:45,   


Since one university announced that it was introducing the `contribution entrance system` beginning in the year 2002, our society is going through bitter experiences of the 1990s again. It is true that financial difficulty of universities should be resolved since it is a major factor that weakens the competitiveness of university as well as the nation. Although the solution for the financial difficulty is urgent, the `contribution entrance system` cannot be an alternative.

It is regrettable to hear the logic of those who argue for the introduction of the `contribution entrance system`. This is because they lure the people simply by highlighting the successful aspects of the `contribution entrance system’ of the U.S., instead of reflecting upon the fundamental problem embedded in the current university education system.

I (the writer) would like to ask the `meaning of entering the prestigious university for Koreans` to those who argue that the `contribution entrance system` is the only alternative. Admission to the prestigious university means the half way to success in life in Korean society where the academic sectarianism is rampant. However, in the U.S. the competition for college entrance is not as intensive as Korea. Moreover, the academic sectarianism is not as serious as in Korea. Why do they bring up the U.S. situation since Korea is undeniably different from the U.S?

Setting aside the issue of inheriting the social status as well as wealth, it should be carefully examined whether an idea that the university will grant the scholarship to ten poor students with the entrance fee contributed by one rich student, which violates the `equal opportunity of education` in the constitution, fits the educational value. It is foolish to damage the essential educational value under the name of education.

If prestigious universities want to attract people who are disgusted by the reality of the education system and those who attempt to emigration for education, they should propose creative educational programs that change the basic educational frame. Why do those who emphasize the `contribution entrance system` keep silence on this matter? If this is not premised, the university education is like `throwing water on a thirsty soil`. Revolution of university education does not occur simply by increasing the finance when the education programs are still weak.

Universities have incurred most of the financial crisis on their own. Why did they expand their branch school policy while having financial difficulties? Moreover, why are personnel expenses as well as facility investment much higher than the national universities? I (the writer) have repeatedly argued that the government should increase its support for the private universities since they have trained more than 80 percent of highly qualified competent people. However, the universities seem to fight with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources under the name of `prestige`. As I reflect on this, I think of the loosened morality of the prestigious universities.

Prestigious universities should change their mindset on educational revolution as well as university management. They should seek to transform to the best universities that bring in foreign students, instead of sending out their own students to abroad, through the efficient and transparent university management as well as creative educational programs. If the `contribution entrance system` is unavoidable for the prestigious universities despite the painful efforts to self-reform, then, they can discuss the issue of the `contribution entrance system`. This is the very responsibility of the prestigious universities to the nation and the people.

Choi Suk-Won (Professor at the Department of Geoenvironmental Sciences, Kongju National University)