[EDITORIALS]Rating the collegesA JoongAng Ilbo evaluation of universities nationwide shows several changes in the standings, with Pohang University of Science and Technology returning to the top of the comprehensive list after five years. The results are significant because they reveal that the shortcut to becoming a good university is for the schools to steadily invest in themselves and work to enhance their competitiveness.
It is the opinion of the evaluation panel members that there was overall improvement in the 56 points of evaluation grouped into six categories of education environment, financial state, research achievements by professors, information system, level of contribution to society, and public relations and renovation.
The annual evaluation, the ninth that the JoongAng Ilbo has done, shows universities are getting more competitive, indicating that there's a change occurring in the culture of universities.
Competition was especially strong in the category of research achievements by professors, and a striking characteristic of this year's results is that the comprehensive standing of a school was influenced strongly by the grade it got in this category.
Pohang University, which shows an impressive improvement in the distribution of research grants, publication of research papers and investment in student training, took the No. 1 spot on the list. Pohang has set a good example that other universities might follow.
In times when the competitiveness of a nation's universities directly affects the competitiveness of the nation, our universities have been too spoiled and laid back. There still are universities that frown on these evaluations. It is a generally accepted practice in advanced countries to evaluate colleges and universities and list them according to their standings. The JoongAng Ilbo's evaluation of universities was intended to promote fair competition among universities and to provide consumers with information. Competition among universities to recruit new students is expected to become even more intense, with the number of students who have applied to take the College Scholastic Ability Test, the national college entrance exam, being smaller than the total quota of students universities want to recruit. Thus, information about universities will become even more valuable to students seeking a higher education.