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[Opinion] Blue Doctors

Posted March. 30, 2005 23:22,   


In the 1990s, graduate students who vented their frustration toward society in bars and pubs near universities were easily noticed. That was a time when people with doctoral degrees poured out of universities into society in earnest. The number of people who earned doctoral degrees in domestic universities was more than 3,000 in 1991, and reached 6,500 in 1999, even though it was hard to predict whether a doctoral degree holder would be able to become a professor after 10 years due to a lack of positions. In other areas, their seniors had already occupied all the available positions, so there were no seats for them. For those who majored in humanities and socio-science, the situation was much harsher. Young adults who lost their future in this situation could do nothing but dream about innovation and progress.

The “Butterfly Effect” driven by them also has partly contributed to liberals grabbing political power. For those who study hard and build up knowledge and ability, but are blocked from participation in society, corruption and the inability of vested interests seems to be enormous. From one mind to another, such sympathy was aroused among their peers. And mocking themselves, those who taught in universities part time said, “The way to join the ranks of the unemployed while spending money is to enter a graduate school.” A new phrase, “Look like a doctor,” was coined, meaning, “putting too much effort into useless things.”

One can realize the meaning of stark uncertainty when he or she contrasts the “sudden successes in life” of those who once participated in student movements in school and now are advanced in political communities, and the “frustration” of doctors. According to a report, four out of 10 graduate students who recently earned a doctoral degree in Seoul National University are irregular workers. Doctors who have taken a normal course to get their degrees might regret their choices after doing some secular calculations. Sarcastic remarks, such as “taking part in student movements is a much better way to success as opposed to studying hard in school,” will also irritate them.

The unemployment situation of doctors may worsen as half of the colleges in the country may disappear, thanks to restructuring of many universities. It is worrisome that the “failures” of doctors may push our society to neglect studies and scholarship. It is a kind of “betrayal” that unemployment among people with high education levels has worsened since the Roh Moo-hyun administration took office. At least, the government should feel liable for them.

Hong Chan-shik, Editorial writer, chansik@donga.com