|Students strongly complain about the process of making decisions|
From July 28th, undergraduate and postgraduate students of Ehwa Women’s University have been protesting against the program that the university has in progress called “Mirae Life Work.” This program is apparently aimed at providing opportunities of higher education to people who are working in their career instead of entering into university.
However in the process of being selected for the program, the university’s board of directors and the president of the university carry forward the program without gathering the opinions of students. Students also argue that this kind of program finally leads to distortion of the meaning of academic degrees. Furthermore, different from other universities, Ehwa University made a new department and has a large number in additional recruitment. This will harm the fairness in recruitment.
Actually, our government is financially supporting universities by distributing various programs. While distributing and selecting the university, the government requires unilateral obedience from universities such as restructuring of them. Nevertheless, universities are struggling to get financial support, so they just do as the government requires. Universities exist for academic reasons, not for profit, though the government makes universities a profitable enterprise. Government forces such things and makes universities lose their own reasons of establishment. For that reason, universities are becoming a method for getting a job.
As Ewha Women’s University pushes forward the program to be selected from the government, students strongly complain about the process of university making decisions and have expressed their opinions by posting notes, making statements and returning diplomas of university graduates and even carrying out a stay-in strike. While protesting, the president asked protesters for a conversation and they accepted. However, the school president called the police to send a suppression unit to the university at the same time. The protest was performed peacefully, however police dispatched 1600 officers to suppress 200 protesters. Many innocent protesters were hurt and wounded. The university stated that suppression was not related to the university and that it was initiated by the police force itself. However, the fact came out officially that the university indeed asked the police for their intervention. Even professors announced criticism for the unconscionable action of the university.
Lastly, In Ehwa University’s case, academic elitism which is widespread in Korean society is the actual cause. This kind of thought fades the true meaning of university, the place for higher education. Mirae Life Program actually aims to give degrees to people who are experienced workers. Academic elitism makes these workers want to get a diploma even though that is not necessary for them. People should stop evaluating people by educational background and stop academic elitism. Then we will be able to make fundamental improvement.
Park Hyun-jong, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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