▲ The campus wall poster to protest against KU’s expected countermeasures. Photographed by Kim Yeojeong
On November 29, the revised Higher Education Act was approved in the National Assembly plenary session. The bill was designed to improve the poor working conditions of part-time lecturers in universities. It aims to improve their job security, for example, by paying them during the summer and winter break and guaranteeing their employment. However, even ahead of the implementation, universities including Korea University (KU) are trying to copewith the revised act, such as by reducing the number of lecturers or the courses.
As KU’s attempt to cut down on courses to reduce the part-time lecturers surfaced, a joint countermeasure committee to stop the adjustment convened to file a complaint on November 22. According to a revealed document written by the Office of Academic Affairs, KU is planning to reduce the total number of lectures by 20% and the mandatory credit for graduation from 130 to 120. Even though universities assert that the newly accepted bill will burden them financially, the additional expense expected is only 0.8% of KU’s total revenue in 2017, according to the committee.
It seems necessary for the universities to give proper consideration on how this situation will affect the quality of education. Considering that the additional budget required for implementing the act is not secured, students will have to look out whether KU would introduce measures that would worsen the education environment.