Nowadays, one issue that causes a heated debate among university members is the university reform plan which cuts down the number of collegians across the country. According to the statistics, there are over 400 colleges and 3.60 million collegians. With the steady low birthrate, it is expected that the quotas of university freshmen exceed the number of high school graduates in 2023. This will result in causing difficulties in recruiting students for many colleges. In this context, the Ministry of Education announced a plan called 'University Reform Plan' to reduce the number of students who enter the colleges by 160,000. Cutting 160,000 students means that approximately 110 colleges have to be shut down.
Our university, CNU, is trying to cut the freshmen quota by 510 or 14% for the next 3 years step by step. All things considered, even though we agree that the government and CNU is in the right direction to survive in the global market which is getting tougher day by day, we need to ask ourselves whether the plan that reducing the number of students is on the right track. In other words, for the college reform package of the Ministry of Education to be successful, the Ministry of Education should have mentioned how to restructure the colleges listed on the chopping block lists first. Without mentioning how to restructure these colleges, asking all colleges which are sound in terms of finance and academic administration to cut the freshmen enrollment quota can only cause disapproval and complaints from concerned colleges.
A couple of weeks ago, we heard the news that CNU executive committee of academic administration passed the reform plan of cutting about 14% of freshmen enrollment quota for the next 3 years. And in the process of getting an approval from one college faculty members, even though that the way of specifying how to cut students of each department was reasonably designed by college dean, the reform plan was not accepted. The university administration officers need to consider why this plan failed to get an approval from faculty members.
According to a report issued by the office of university planning, 14 departments with similar academic curriculum will be merged into 7 departments this year. But the plan of cutting students of these departments makes us dissatisfied. For example, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Dept. of Mechatronics Engineering will be merged and become a mammoth department with 115 students. But to our great disappointment, this merged department has a plan of cutting only 2 students next year, 2015. Our common sense says that to guarantee the effectiveness of merger of two departments more than 10% of cutting students should be done. Other departments that will merge this year are similar with these two departments. In this context, is it natural that the plan of asking all colleges to cut down 14% of students cannot get an approval from university members?
Only when university reform plan is reasonably designed, all concerned parties that want to protect their invested interests will support and cooperate for the successful implement of the reform plan. For the Ministry of Education, it could be a first step that they have to show specific ways of how to restructure colleges on the chopping block lists in detail. And then the government can ask cooperation from colleges across the country. For CNU, university officers have to show the reasonably designed reform plan to university members first. Without cutting students of merged and mammoth departments, even though they receive all kinds of financial and administrative incentives, asking all colleges to cut 14% of students only cause conflict among university members, make them hesitant to put their whole-hearted trust and support on CNU president and university officers.
President Chung, Sang-chul of CNU entered into his second half of office. No one doubt that we are in the very critical time now, as the fierce international competition is increasing nowadays. Even though we admit the current unfavoring situations that CNU is facing, it does not allow that CNU president and university officers can monopolize the university reform plan. CNU president and university officers need to show their sincere efforts in explaining and persuading all CNU members including students, faculty and staff members, even alumni association to get support and cooperation from them even though it seems to be time-consuming and frustrating. We want to see this kind of CNU executive officers' leadership. We university members want to see university officers' sincere efforts for development of our university, not blinded compliance with the plan of the Ministry of Education.
By Yang-soo Jung, Professor
(Dept. of English Language and Literature)
The Chungdae Post -
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