On April 26, a public hearing about bidding Seonam University was held at the Natural Science Building. Based on a survey which was taken by UOS students before the public forum, students and faculty members of UOS discussed accepting Seonam University and other related problems.
Firstly, an officer of Planning Affairs and the Policy Director of the Student Council debated whether there will be any impact on departments such as the Department of Environmental Horticulture and the Department of Landscape Architecture. The officer said these departments will not be influenced negatively. Also, he said that if a College of Agriculture and Life Science is established as Seonam University has suggested, this will bring about a positive influence because students will benefit from practical training and take jobs which lead to synergy with related studies at UOS.
On top of that, the officer dealt with what will happen after adopting Seonam University, including its Asan and Namwon campuses, the latter of which features the Medical Department and the College of Public Health. First, UOS will recruit students of these medical schools mainly. Additionally, UOS plans to have students at Seonam University’s medical school receive certificates from UOS. Then those students will be able to work in hospitals located in Seoul because affiliated medical instruments and infrastructures in Seoul have already been prepared.
Next, in the financial aspect, he mentioned budget standards. He said that the amount of the budget to be invested in Seonam University has not been decided yet. These days, the university’s budget is approximately 110 billion KRW. Even if UOS uses money for the Namwon Campus, financial support will be increased and UOS will not lose any money which was used for UOS students before. To carry on, UOS has to obtain permission from Seoul citizens to invest their taxes.
Considering the difficulty of using medical treatment like in the case of MERS, UOS expects that a result of the investment will make large profits. This is because UOS medical students will be supplied to Seoul Medical Center. Additionally, a bill constructed by members of the assembly of Seoul shows that UOS can create medical school for public medical care. This implies that Seoul citizens might benefit greatly if UOS acquires Seonam University. Although most citizens know about these benefits, UOS will stress this factor to strengthen its bidding.
As for the development of the public medical system, the officer brought up an autonomous medical school in Japan as an example. It sends medical students to each region to work for 9 years. Like this policy, he stated that UOS, which is backed up by Seoul city, could become a good model for independent medical schools serving the community.
After questions received from students in advance were answered, there were questions on the public hearing. The first inquiry was about the tuition at Seonam University. Private medical school tuition is about 10 million KRW per year. The difference between UOS and other universities has not been decided yet. However, the tuition may be approximately half of other private medical schools and this will be determined after seriously considering experiments and practice fees.
As Seonam University received the worst evaluation by the Ministry of Education (MOE), there are some opinions that acquisition of this university may cause negative perceptions of UOS. However, the officer mentioned that UOS will not consider accepting Seonam University if it lowers the public evaluation of UOS, even though UOS wants to set up a medical school. Also students do not need to worry because evaluative indicators will be reflected for each university independently. Furthermore, considering the point of developing an unstable university and public medical care, accepting Seonam University could raise UOS’s status.
For now, Seonam University has banned their students from transferring to the medical department. In the same manner, current UOS students will not be allowed to change their major to the premedical course. However, there will be changes in policy after actually operating the school.
After the public hearing, the Student Council made several extra enquires based on answers from UOS. Still, UOS needs to carry out a lot of investigation and discussion.
By Seo Jae-won
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