[EDITORIALS]Evaluating the universitiesThe current status of Korea’s university education system is lamentable. Its competitiveness is ranked 28th in the world. Only one university is included in the top 100 on the Science Citation Index. Only 60 percent of graduates find jobs. Knowledge and technology learned in a university only comprise 26 percent of what is needed at work. A professor typically has 31 students ― a teacher-student ratio that is worse than in elementary and secondary education.
These conditions are embarrassing. Korea’s universities must achieve greater competitiveness. We feel relieved that the Education Ministry finally came up with a reform measure after reviewing such shortcomings. It is urgent that universities hurry to gradually reduce their numbers of freshmen. By integrating or building alliances among state-run universities, and mergers of private universities, schools will be able to avoid overlap in their education.
Among the proposals, we see particular importance in requiring universities to make public information about their status. Universities and graduate schools would be required to disclose their enrollment ratios, faculty-student ratios, employment rates, and budgets and spending. The ministry plans to take legal action against schools that post inaccurate information.
Having information about employment after graduation, the faculty and a school’s funding from endowments helps students select a school. Korean universities, however, have been hiding such information. The ministry was also reluctant to make public such data. Naturally, students and parents thus select schools with no background information, and companies select graduates with only vague ideas about their abilities.
It is, therefore, necessary to establish an institution to evaluate the nation’s universities. The United States, England and Japan have long operated professional evaluators. The JoongAng Ilbo has also been evaluating universities and their academic courses for a decade, contributing to improving universities’ competitiveness. After information on universities is made public, applicants will be able to compare schools and make their selections. Because the merits and demerits of the schools will be laid bare, universities will have no choice but to compete against each other. Through such competition, the nation’s universities will be able to make a leap.