[EDITORIALS]Universities flunk job testKorean companies are not satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills of local university graduates. According to a survey by the Federation of Korean Industries, companies gave some recent graduates 26 points on a scale of 100 in measuring their satisfaction.
Companies are dissatisfied because most university educations cannot accommodate social demands. In school, students thirst for practical and useful knowledge they can take with them when they begin working for companies.
But universities are not flexible enough to change their curriculums to keep abreast of the times and technologies. Simply, universities have not been able to give students in-depth knowledge needed by companies, opportunities to put that knowledge into practice, or meaningful on-the-job training.
One problem with a university education has to do with size. Like department stores, universities offer too many courses and too many majors to too many students. Apart from specializing in specific fields and producing specifically trained professionals, universities seldom vary in their selection of departments and in designing courses to meet real-life needs.
The noncompetitive culture among universities as well as poor campus conditions and outdated facilities exacerbate an already crippled college education system. Companies' dissatisfaction with university education begets another problem. Recent graduates with no job offers will increase because companies prefer individuals with experience. Even if they are hired, recent grads cannot be immediately put to work because they have to be trained. It is costly to recruit needed talent from abroad.
We need to strengthen cooperation between universities and companies and to introduce curriculums tailored to specific demands. Universities are not only for providing skills for jobs, or to make money. They have to cultivate talent with balanced values. Universities are losing all these battles and they're not fighting back.