Political Party Proposes to Abolish Top Korean University

Seoul National University gate, at night.

Education is a sensitive matter in Korean politics and often causes controversy. A recent election pledge by the Democratic United Party (DUP) has been criticised by netizens as an attempt to remove the hierarchy between universities by abolishing Seoul National University (SNU) and merging all the public universities into a single system. But this pledge does not consider private universities such as Yonsei University and Korea University which are also part of an educational hierarchy. It also fails to consider the impact on the overall standard of education at national universities. The general response from netizens in the top comments is one of outrage, with many criticising the plan as rash.

From Joong-Ang Daily:

Democratic United Party Considers Presidential Election Pledge to abolish Seoul National University

Merger of all national and public universities in the country

Yong-Seob Lee of the Democratic United Party, who is the chairman of the Policy Planning Committee, announced on July 1 that he was considering a presidential election pledge regarding a merger of all national and public universities. This includes effectively abolishing Seoul National University (SNU).

During a press conference on this day, he said that ‘we are discussing a plan to establish a national university at each province, while specialising rest of the universities.’ He explained that they aim to combine the existing Seoul National University, Kyungpook National University and Chonnam National University into a united system; within the system, free exchanges of lectures, credits and professors would be allowed and joint graduation certificates would be given out.

Students in the library at Seoul National University

‘In the US, the California State University is divided into campuses in places like Berkeley, LA and Irvine. Also in France, the national university is operated in a system based on individual campuses such as University of Paris 1 and 2,’ he added. ‘Likewise, existing universities would have their names removed and regional campuses of the national university would be established in Seoul, Gyeongbuk, and so on, so that SNU would be all over the country,’ he explained.

The Democratic United Party is also reviewing a measure to remove undergraduate courses from the future Seoul campus of the national university, and to promote its specialisation in graduate courses, in order to prevent the Seoul campus from functioning as SNU presently does.

‘We are also considering equipping the Seoul campus with undergraduate courses in only in the basic sciences, and dispersing several general undergraduate courses into campuses in different areas, to avoid concentration of all the talented students into the Seoul campus,’ he added. The idea of merging all the national and public universities has usually been put forward as an election pledge for education from the New Progressive Party, who claim that the measure will alleviate the tendency to rank universities, reduce difficulties in entering university, normalise high school education and help different regions of the country to develop more evenly.

Among the candidates of the presidential election, Hak-kyu Sohn (Permanent Advisor) has promised a ‘joint diploma from SNU and national non-Seoul universities’ while Kyoung-tae Cho (member of the National Assembly) has put forward ‘abolition of undergraduate courses from the SNU and turning it into a university mainly for graduate studies.’

Comments from Nate – Joong Ang:


Is there nothing but shit in the heads of those DUP kids….?? You guys will probably be far better off in the election if you stayed quiet… Ignorant things…


Let’s get rid of Tae-hee Kim in order to eliminate lookism! Let’s kill Kun-hee Lee to remove the gap between the rich and the poor! Let’s eliminate Yuna Kim to standardise the figure skating skills of the population! Let’s erase Mount Everest from the Earth to make the entire world flat! Let’s bash the super computer to remove the difference between computers! DUP says: if you standardise the the super computer with normal computers, you make many super computers. Ho ho ho….


What about a plan to abolish the DUP?


It’s a pledge fit for the undereducated commies.


I didn’t go to the SNU but this is honestly wrong ;; The SNU kids tried so hard [to get in there].. Don’t waste your time on this shit, but get rid of useless private universities instead


What the SNU can do to survive: change its name to ‘Kim Dae-jung University’ [as a parody to Kim Il-sung University in North Korea]


The Saenuri Party is sure to win this presidential election ke ke ke ke ke ke ke They [the DUP] are cutting down the votes for them ke ke ke ke


Do they really can’t think of anything better? ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke It’s like saying they’re giving up on the presidential election


OMG ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke Why the hell would you abolish the SNU ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke Instead get rid of those useless universities that don’t live up to the title ‘university.’ This is really idiotic


In France the general university is divided into University 1, 2, 3 etc named according to the city they are in. But there clearly is an education system known as Grandes Ecoles training the elite students, who then become the few brains that lead the country. Without such system in mind, is the DUP planning to make every Korean student a fool by downward standardisation? Are they crazy or what? The DUP is really not right, I think..


Dear DUP, since you hate the 1st place so much, I hope that you keep the 2nd place in every single election.


Soon they’ll start rationing food out.


Do you call this ‘fishing in troubled water’? The Yonsei and Korea Universities would be happy that they move up the rank automatically from the 2nd place to the 1st kekeke Oh my, the DUP ke ke ke ke

Comments from Nate – Hankyoreh:


The idea comes not from a single person but from many people in the DUP……….. What’s happening? Everybody knows that the policy will fail and is completely outrageous – why doesn’t the DUP know?


Will the competition between universities disappear if the SNU is abolished?? On the contrary, all the good students will dash out of the country, I bet!! Policies on education should be changed; changing the schools and universities doesn’t solve anything! It’s not only because the SNU is a good university that I feel my university is not so good. Wouldn’t it be because there are absolute problems, not comparative ones, within the universities?


Rather than abolishing the SNU, the first thing to do is to remove universities that don’t have a raison d’etre and do not teach their students properly. It’s a fact that the number of freshers that universities can accept is greater than the number of students graduating from high schools.. In this country you can go to a university even if you’ve been idle the whole time, and this system automatically creates a hierarchy of universities. It’s this system that needs a change, but they are trying to flush out a university with lots of good students; it’s like proving their own lack of understanding of the problem.


Think in the shoes of students who are smart enough to go to the SNU. Where would they go if there’s no SNU any more? Would they lower their standards and go to a national university? They wouldn’t unless they’ve gone crazy!! Why would they, when they can be attracted by tuition fees and student loans?? They would definitely choose Yonsei and Korea Universities, unless crazy!! Even when the SNU is standardised downwards, will Yonsei and Korea Universities be the same? There is zero possibility that they will follow suit and lower their standards, because they would never go down the rank but they might go up!


The DUP has a wrong way of thinking to start with… Rather than doing away with the SNU they should consider making another university like the SNU.. Likewise, rather than getting rid of Gangnam and Samsung they should think about developing the 2nd Gangnam and Samsung… Lives of the majority public are not likely to improve even if these things were simply removed… Rather, they will worsen… So stupid


The SNU is not just a standard of a high-calibre university, but is a symbol of the best Korean university. And they want to abolish such an ivory tower???? Do they think it’s right to blindly follow the developed nations? I don’t think the politicians of this country understand that even good medicine can create different effects depending on who takes it.


There are only a few universities in Korea with international standards, and among them [the SNU] has lower tuition fees and actually give proper training to their students. The idea of getting rid of that university is simply crazy. It takes long to establish tradition; I wonder what hidden intentions those people have when they talk so easily of the grand tradition that spans 100 years, tut tut. Is the idea really for the benefit of the country and its people? Wish they’d think deeper…..

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