'Bring local universities and businesses back to life first'

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'Bring local universities and businesses back to life first'

“We will implement a plan to relocate conglomerates, major universities and specialized high schools into provinces before President Yoon Suk-yeol’s term comes to a close,” said Lee Sang-min, minister of the interior and safety, in a press interview. He said exceptional incentives, which can even be considered a “privilege,” will be offered to lure those institutions to move to areas outside the Seoul metropolitan area.
According to data released by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the number of residents in the metropolitan area accounted for 51 percent of the entire population as of August. The divide in the size of the working population between the metropolitan area and the rest of the country is widening. That’s why every administration tries to take measures to disperse the population concentrated in the metropolitan area. 
However, this is not a simple problem to be solved by just relocating workplaces or schools. According to a survey conducted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry last May, approximately 70 percent of young people seeking a job and living in the metropolitan area say that they do not want to work outside the capital. 

Universities are more sensitive than other sectors to this issue, as their entrance exam results are hugely influenced by the location of the schools. Regional disparity is a complicated problem tangled with many causes and interests.
“Seoul National University is called Seoul National University because it’s in Seoul.”
“The number of students falls short in areas outside the capital. As soon as universities are relocated, their entrance exam results worsen.”
“The policy is a necessity for balanced regional development — the revitalization of regional economies and population decentralization.”
“Seoul National University of Science and Technology, the Korea National University of Arts, military schools and large hospitals should be moved to local districts to create balanced development.”
“Areas outside the capital do not have enough infrastructure. Attracting foreign enterprises and creating quality jobs should be the first priority.”
“Think about how to bring local universities and businesses back to life first."

BY KIM EUN-SONG, BY HAN HYE-RIM [han.hyerim1@joongang.co.kr]
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