"If you are interested in paying 500,000 won for the Crime and Society course, please contact me." This was one of the posts uploaded on the Korea University (KU) Everytime application, an online university community and timetable service. As the competition for course enrollment intensified, more and more cases were exploited for money-making purposes. University is a place for higher education and academic pursuit, but greed and selfishness of some are relegating their universities to a mere salesroom.
Course bargaining is a deal where one student transfers a course to another student, but with a price. Since the course registration is operated on a first come, first served basis, students who were unable to register must occasionally partake in these negotiations. Such quick bargains often take place in Koreapas or Everytime, which are the representative online community sites used by many KU students. Course bargaining on campus has been an endemic problem in the college community. However, what is noticeable in 2019 is that the price skyrocketed to an unreasonable and absurd rate. In extreme cases, the price of popular or mandatory courses ranges from 300,000 won to 500,000 won.
Unlike in the case of selling used textbooks, course bargaining can provoke controversy. The books offered for sale are usually sold at a price lower than the fixed market price. Courses, on the other hand, do not have a market price to begin with. This reveals a controversy of whether students who were simply faster in clicking and registering for the course have the rights to grant monetary value for courses they obtained for free.
It is common to see students stay up late at night and try to register for a course, only if they are lucky enough to find an empty seat at the last moment. Rather than spending the whole night seeking for an empty spot from a course, students may find bargaining an efficient way of getting what one needs. However, this will further inculcate a notion that the course could be used as merchandise as a time-saving measure and not an equal opportunity for knowledge.
Moreover, it is important to note that victims may appear during the negotiation. After a monetary transaction is made between the buyer and seller, they both need to set a time to give over the course. Usually, the deal is made late at night, in order to reduce the risk of having the course intercepted by other students. However, there are unfortunate cases in which a lucky third party takes the course that was intended to be handed over to the buyer. Not only does the buyer feel frustrated and exhausted, he or she loses a considerably large sum of money.
Eventually, course bargaining generates victims and taints the academic pursuit of courses. To stop this continuous occurrence of miserable students unable to take the courses they wish and the increase of ill-minded purveyors, university forum sites ought to ultimately prohibit bargaining courses. A Konkuk University (KU) forum KUNG has absolutely forbidden the act of course bargaining, yet allows course exchanging. Moreover, university authorities should regulate this act in person.
Yet, due to the anonymity of which the bargaining takes place, authorities experience difficulties tracking down all the sellers. As a solution, the university could make a public exchange forum and opening up partial information of the seller and the buyer, which would be more advisable. When transactions take place in the public with open information, it would be easier for the university to track the absurd requests and take action for a gradual decrease. Respecting the dignity of the university, course bargaining must not be condoned.