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Study Says Provincial Univ. Scholarship Program ‘Flawed’

Study Says Provincial Univ. Scholarship Program ‘Flawed’

Posted January. 28, 2009 03:13,   


The Korea Development Institute said yesterday that a scholarship program for provincial university students majoring in liberal arts has failed.

The government introduced the program with the aim of promoting provincial development by nurturing talent at universities in those regions.

The study was commissioned by the Strategy and Finance Ministry and surveyed 2,234 liberal arts students at provincial universities who received the scholarship in the first semester last year.

Among such students, 1,172 or 52.5 percent said they wanted to get a job in the Seoul metropolitan area upon graduation. Only 638 or 28.5 percent said they would seek work in the area of their alma mater.

In addition, 1,821 or 81.5 percent said they would choose a university in the capital area if they could choose again, and 445 or 20 percent replied that they intend to transfer or apply for readmission at a university in the Seoul metropolitan area.

The scholarship program was introduced in 2007 by the Education Ministry under the Roh Moo-hyun administration to improve education in the provinces and nurture talent to lead regional development.

The first scholarships were given last year with a budget of 12.5 billion won (8.98 million U.S. dollars). The budget will increase in relation to the rise in college tuition.

“(Under the new system), it is hard to accomplish the original purpose of developing the provincial economy by fostering talent from provincial universities, given that the regions are bound to lose their graduates to another,” the institute said.

The scholarship program was also found not to stimulate competition as the fund is offered in direct proportion to the number of students at provincial colleges.

The institute’s researchers suggested using the scholarship money for high school students by making a co-op program among regional high schools, universities and companies. “This will raise competition among provincial universities and prevent the exodus of regional talent,” a member of the leading state-run think tank said.