|▲Presidents of National Universities gathered to sign cooperative agreements(Source:Waagle)|
There are 40 National Universities in South Korea, which are divided into a few categories. First, there are 10 major National Universities such as Seoul National University and Busan National University, and 13 Regional-Centered National Universities, which CWNU belongs to. Presidents and representatives of Regional Centered National Universities established Presidential councils from the early 2000s, to discuss major issues and to deal with the central government’s education policy. Seven National Universities, including Gunsan University, Keum-o Institute of Technology, Pukyong University, Seoul Institute of Technology, Korea Transportation University, Hanbat University, and CWNU, formed a council to strengthen industry-academic cooperation. The council created a collaborative platform for joint equipment utilization. The core of the agreement is to establish an industry-academic linked platform called the, “Equipment for Education and Research Sharing Program,” for the joint use of research facilities and necessary instruments at universities. The agreement aims to establish cooperative industry-academic circumstances where students, institutions, and companies are mutually helpful to each other.
The participating National Universities and Industry Cooperation called, “K7U,” an innovative system that aims to overcome the weaknesses and regional limitations of local National Universities. In addition, not only sharing of research and educational facilities, but also joint curriculum and textbook development, human and material resource exchanges have been conducted. In particular, from the beginning of the 2020s, the K7U Project has advanced more to establish the, “K7U Patent Asset Management System,” to share their specialized research and studies. Lee Ho-young, President of CWNU said, “We hope that seven National Universities located nationwide will establish a sustainable collaboration system to become a new industry-academic cooperation success model through the peninsula-wide industry-academic cooperation that creates synergy effects.”
Unlike the past status of Regional National Universities, which used to be the cradle that grew specialists, local universities are on the verge of survival due to the excessive centralization to Seoul City and the unprecedented low birth rate. Local National Universities are also not free from this influence, so the entrance exam performance of freshmen keeps decreasing and moreover, an unfilled quota of students takes place. Headquarters of major companies are located in Seoul and renowned prestigious universities are all located in Seoul, therefore, the gap between Seoul and other cities keeps widening. Even worse, the best regional university’s entrance exam performance is similar to that of the lowest university located in Seoul city. Students prefer to go to, “In-Seoul,” universities rather than National Universities, for the attraction to the superior infrastructures of the capital city.
Local universities and educational institutions need to expand infrastructure and investment to foster specialists, while National Universities across the country need to fix their weak points through co-operation. In addition to education, it is necessary to create an environment in which students are pleased to go to local universities by promoting major companies to create quality jobs. This will solve the overpopulation problem of Seoul by dispersing people outside of Seoul and to build win-win relationships with local governments. It is hoped that CWNU and other local universities strengthen their competency by cooperating to foster human resources and continuous investments.
By Park Hyun-jong, reporter email@example.com
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