Ways to make more top colleges outside of SeoulWhat is unique about Korea’s educational environment is that most of the well-performing universities are concentrated in Seoul and its surrounding area. However, other developed countries, such as the U.S., have decent universities nationwide rather than having them concentrated in the capital city. A recent statistics by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security show that the ratio of high government officials graduated from the universities located in Seoul make up a whopping 83 percent.
The problem of Seoul-centric educational environment is that it leads to less chance of raising talented people in peripheral regions. As all of the hard-working students move to the capital, other cities will experience serious brain drain. What is aggravating this situation is the existence of too many universities and the large number of students who pursue tertiary education. The number of four-year universities in Korea is 252 and the ratio of high school students going to university is 82 percent - higher than that of the U.S. and Europe, which is around 60 to 70 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
What the government should do is to select a number of local universities and subsidize them more heavily than the universities in and near Seoul. A good example of how the government successfully made a top-class university outside of Seoul is Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in the metropolitcan city of Daejeon, one of the most prestigious schools in the fields of science and technology.
The government has invested lots of money for research and scholarship and to build infrastructures such as research centers by allotting sufficient money. It is obvious that the government’s support is crucial to establish prestigious universities in regional areas.
Likewise, focusing on specific promising universities nationwide is a better choice than forcefully closing down SNU. To do that, the government should secure budget by closing noncompetitive schools to subsidize some of top regional universities with potential to develop as top schools. Selective funding through removing underperforming universities can help increasing the competitiveness of Korean universities and will contribute to balanced regional development of Korea.
*Student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
By Cho Yoo-jae