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Campus NewsCampus Special
PRIME Project; What Is a Prime University?
Lee Eun-yeong  |  tnr1915@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2016.05.09  07:10:37
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 PRIME Project; What Is a Prime University?

If you are a university student at CAU, you may have heard of the ”PRIME Project” because CAU held a briefing session about it in March and it was widely reported in the press. Many universities across the country applied for the project and proposed various plans to raise their possibilities of winning it. Among many universities, CAU was also included. Now, everything about the project, which has been mostly veiled in a mist, is decided and it is very difficult to change already settled maters. However, until now, there is a sharp division of opinions between a pro and a con about the project. Let’s talk about the PRIME project right now.

1.     What Is the PRIME Project?

PRIME project means a Program for Industrial needs-Matched Education. It is the biggest financial support for universities in Korean history in which 200 billion won of government money is invested. There is a prediction conducted by Ministry of Employment and Labor and Korea Employment Information Service about the future labor market. It says that ten years from now, the number of graduates who major in Engineering will be in short supply by about 260,000 people. On the other hand, the number of graduates who major in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Arts will be in excessive supply by about 530,000 people. Therefore, the Ministry of Education suggested the PRIME project in response to this.

Type

Leading Social Demand

Leading Base of Creativity

Feature

1. Rearrangement focused on getting a job and improvement of student-centered curriculum

2. Creating a field curriculum and reinforcement of managing students’ careers

1. Cultivation of students for creative economy and promising occupations for the future

2. Introduction of new education model such as Venture Opening

Qualification

University should make a change more than 10% of the entrance quota (at least 100 students) or 200 students.

University should make a change more than 5% of the entrance quota (at least 50 students) or 100 students.

Scale of Support

Total 150 billion won to approximately nine universities

Total 50 billion won to approximately 10 universities

Source: Ministry of Education

 

2.     The Problems of Universities’ Responses

Many issues arose with the responses of universities to the PRIME project. Above all, most universities were reluctant to disclose information about the PRIME project to students due to the risk of leakage of information to rival universities. For example, CAU held only one presentation about the project for students with less than one month left before the application deadline. What was worse, the school authorities asked students not to take a photo of PPT slides. Sungshin Women’s University offered another example of it. It announced that it made a plan without an arrangement of departments as a result of reflecting students’ opinions. However, the student president of the College of Social Science in the university asserted that there was no effort made by the school to collect students’ opinions..

As a result, the students’ voices were scarcely reflected in the project plan. Of course, there may be some students who were in favor of the school’s plan. However, although there were a lot of students who agreed with it, the problem was that the final plan of the project was just made by the school authority without collecting opinions of the faculty and students. In fact, most students in the College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Education, and Art opposed the project strongly. Another drawback is that most universities made many impractical plans to win the project. For instance, in a meeting with students, an officer of Kyunghee University used an example of a new department named “Webtoon Creating”, which would merge Literary Creation with Engineering of Electromagnetic Waves. Although the school said it was just an example for explanation only, many students distrusted a curriculum made by a rough-and-ready method.

3.     Interview with Students

1)     Interview with a Student of College of Liberal Arts.

Q1. Do you know about the PRIME project?

I know that the university will receive financial aid, which is about 300 billion won from the government, if CAU cuts down the number of students in the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Education, and Art and increases the number of students in Engineering. I think CAU wants to raise total employment rates by increasing the number of students in Engineering.

Q2. What do you think about the project?

I’m worried about it because many students of those colleges can be frustrated by CAU’s policy which decreases the quota of students in some majors that are hard to get jobs. In addition, I think some students can have resistance to the fact that universities tend to discriminate between departments.

Q3. Do you think the project will develop the school?

It is obvious that the project will enhance the College of Engineering’s competitiveness by the support. However, I’m not sure that it can develop CAU generally because the other departments, which are targeted for personnel reduction, will lose their power.

2)     Interview with a Student in College of Engineering

Q1. Do you know about the PRIME project?

It is a program that merges some departments according to the demand of the labor market and makes a revival for the College of Engineering. It is because South Korea’s economy tends to rely on its heavy industries. Therefore, the demand for Engineering is much higher than that for the other departments.

Q2. What do you think about the project?

The PRIME project is not necessary, but CAU needs to rearrange the number of students in each department. Now, the number of students in the Engineering College is too small compared with other universities and financial support is also quite small. However, it is improper that CAU forms a competitive composition between the College of Engineering and the other Colleges such as Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. I want people to accept it as a change made by the stream of times.

Q3. Do you think the project will develop the school?

Yes, because the scale of support is big and the College of Engineering is too weak compared with other schools. So I think CAU should improve it.

4.     What Is the Development of University?

The University has a duty to provide a better educational environment for students so it is natural that it tries to get government funding to secure a budget for it. All universities which applied for the project said that enhancement of their university’s competitiveness is the purpose of the project and they promised to keep the right to learning for students. However, decreasing the number of students means invasion of the rights to some majors in the College of Art because it needs many students to make an orchestra and for particular performances. We should think about that it is a real development if some students’ sacrifices are needed in the developing process.

      The important point of the project is not only the result of the project, but also the fact about how the university tries to listen to the students for the project. If the university believes that the project will be helpful for the development of the school, it should have spent more time and effort to collect the opinions of students who were expected to be damaged by the project. Regardless of success or failure of the project, the absence of communication between students and the school is the greatest flaw in the project

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