[Letter to the editor]Integrate, not divide
The campus is turning red and brown with the colors of autumn. Now is the time for harvest, but the members of school communities are in conflict. The alumni members are staging sit-ins on the campus in tents they have set up. Students demonstrate to air out their demands. These scenes expose the side effects of college integration. When universities merge they seem to grow large, but internally it gives rise to opposite aspects.
School integration done without consensus has made only the physical size of the schools bigger. Obstacles blocking the school’s development are showing up here and there. Merging of schools is possible when the members of the different organizations acknowledge and agree on their interests. Schools put together by the government’s policy without considering other matters have potential for internal disorder.
School integration is designed to advance the development of the school community, but in certain cases, the processes are done for an individual’s interest. Promises are made and in implementing such promises, conflicts occur among the members of the school community. At the end the original purpose of the integration-for-better-schools is gone and only the interests of certain individuals or groups remain.
The interest groups within a school are related in complicated ways. Faculty, students, employees, alumni and the local community respond sensitively to change in the schools because it is strongly related with their everyday lives. Sometimes conflicts in these interests may lead to extreme situations. If integration is pushed through without enough concessions it may turn out hurting the community. In particular, integration of national universities may simply be an expansion rather than restructuring.
School integration shouldn’t be employed as a means of reducing the number of colleges. The structures must be reshaped in a logical way and schools must be redirected to specialize in areas they are effective in. One important thing is that decisions should be based on inclusive agreements. The education authorities should issue approval only after thorough review, considering the basic conditions.
Kim Byung-moo, sociology professor, Kongju National University, South Chungcheong