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Samsung Offers In-House Study Program

Posted August. 18, 2006 03:00,   


Lim Soo-kyung (27) works at a semiconductor factory of Samsung Electronics in Giheung, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. She studies mathematics at night till 2:00 a.m. in her dorm.

She is majoring in semi-conductor engineering at the Samsung Semiconductor Institute of Technology, or SSIT.

She graduated from Mokpo High School of Commerce in Jeonnam Province and immediately started to work at the Samsung manufacturing plant in 1997 because she had to support her poor family. It seemed that her education ended there. She worked hard and has not spent a penny for her and saved money. She eventually saved a hundred million won and bought her parents a decent house with the savings, but she felt something was missing.

SSIT was a definitely an opportunity for her. She can earn both money and a degree and expertise because she works and studies at the same time. She is planning to go to graduate school and earn a master’s degree in semiconductors.

SSIT is the only in-house college in Korea. According to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, SSIT is the only college that can run a degree course.

The history of SSIT goes back to 1989 when the company established an in-house training course for semiconductors in order to nurture talents.

The course was canceled when the financial crisis hit the nation, reopened in 1999, and then turned into a two-year college after being approved by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. It was last year that it finally became a 4-year college.

So far 130 students have graduated. Currently, 43 students are majoring in semi-conductor and 20 in display engineering at SSIT.

Workers with high school diplomas and two years of experience can apply for the college course with the reference of the head of the department and take English and math exams.

If admitted, they have to earn 140 credits for three years. Students have no vacations and a year consists of three terms. During the first year, they are full-time students. During the second and the final year, they study and work part-time. Students pay no tuitions fees and are paid basic salaries without bonus.

The in-house college system in Korea is based on the Lifelong Education Act enacted in 1999.

Samsung Electronics is the only company that runs an in-house college course and Samsung Heavy Industries filed an application to the Ministry of Education planning to open a similar course next year.

Meanwhile, Samsung complained, saying, “An in-house college is subject to same regulations as other universities but not subject to government subsidies.”

SSIT spends 1.6 billion won a year for education because, under the Lifelong Education Act, employers have to fund the budget.

Full-time lecturers of the college are not entitled to pension unlike others teaching at private universities because SSIT was built without an educational foundation. Because of that, three full-time lecturers are employees of Samsung Electronics doing Doctor’s degree at Sungkyunkwan University.

In regard to this, an official of the Ministry of Education said on August 17, “The Ministry of Education will conduct a research into the operation of SSIT.” He added, “The Ministry is planning to establish a taskforce to consider revision of the Lifelong Education Act as more and more companies are showing interests in running an in-house college.”