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IS University Really a Place That Produces Intellectuals?
박성희 | 승인2009.04.07 22:47
   
Column - LLF reporter Sung Hee Park
Is University Really a Place That Produces Intellectuals?
Time flies. Many events happened last year, and a new year has already started along with the starting of a new semester. New students go around seeing many places in the university. Even though it hasn't been so long since 2008 started, it's already 2009; but, there are not many changes around us. This year we will also take some classes, do homework, and study hard to get high scores on tests just like we did last year. We will do club activities and prepare to get a job after graduation, too. It's not largely different from what we have done every year. Just like our life is repeated every year, the rise of school tuition is an issue that is repeated every year without being solved - although many people try to solve it. Actually, we might delightedly pay our school tuition if it is only used to improve our education circumstances and infrastructures even if it is somewhat high to pay. But the reason why many people don't want school tuition to be raised is because they know that it isn't only used for students.
Let's think about a case in our school - the main building. In fact, there weren’t many students who knew the purpose of the places that were being built in the main building when it was under construction. Some people might have expected that the places that were added to main building would be used for the well-being of the students. But what are those places being used for now? The main building is the highest and the most noticeable land-mark in our school. Nevertheless, the floors that were added to main building are used for a restaurant run by a hotel. Many people ask why the president decided to use those floors as a restaurant, even though they were constructed using school tuition funds. The response is that a restaurant will be helpful to students; the money that is earned through the restaurant will be used for students, and students can enjoy high quality services in school. But I'm not sure how many students can afford the cost - the price of the meals is much too high for students.
These days, many people think that the purpose of a university is not only to improve students' intelligence, but also to do other things. Many other universities are already commercialized. For example, we can think about the case of the restaurant and cafe in main building on our campus. In the past, we couldn't find many brand shops for commercial purposes in universities but nowadays it isn't hard to see brand shops on college campuses.
There are some differences between college students and other students such as high school students, because college students are considered to be adults - not just students. Therefore, it is expected that college students will spend money, to some degree, for their consumption. But many people worry that today's universities don't concentrate on only improving their students' intelligence, but also on earning much money for their own benefits through many commercial brand shops. Different from the past, these days most students who graduate from high school go to university. Once in university many students spend their time preparing for jobs due to the concern about competitive job market. So, many people can't easily define the purpose of a university as a place to raise students who concentrate solely on the real meaning of education. Most students go to university because they think it is necessary to go to university after graduating from high school, like other students do. They don't think the reason they go to university is just to study for their intelligence any more, and they can't fully concentrate on studying their major subjects because they have to prepare for jobs during their school time. In the past, college students were regarded as the intellectual few, but this meaning is getting weaker these days. And I'm not sure that many college students regard themselves as real intellectuals who seek the real meaning of education.
It is said that the economy is getting worse. College students who are potential job seekers will have trouble getting jobs, so the role of universities will be more important. Each university has to check whether it is doing its best to perform the role to make students become real intellectuals and competent people who will be welcomed by society after graduation because students are a source of competitive power of universities. Now it is time for our university to question whether it considers students to be a way of making profits. It has to consider students as gem stones that have to be cultivated well.


박성희  psh1320@hanmail.net
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