The KU Newspaper, the Kyungnam Times, and Kyungnam Broadcasting System interviewed President Park Jae Kyu on May 12th, 2020 to celebrate the KU’s 74th anniversary as well as to commemorate the 63rd, 43rd, and 43rd anniversary of each media.
Q1. The outbreak of COVID-19 has made academic calendars and lectures delayed or changed. Thus, it seems that international students in KU and in their home, countries have a lot of difficulties. What is continuously going on with education service program and support for them? And what are KU’s macroscopic directions for global university education?
A1. KU has been selected as an International Education Quality Assurance System (IEQAS) university, certified by the Ministry of Education, for 5 consecutive years. Accordingly, the procedure of issuing VISA is simplified when inviting international students and KU can be given priority about internationalization project or policy. These days, international students are also taking lectures online wherever they are staying. They can get help from global buddies or 1:1 mentoring. Furthermore, KU is trying to be more specialized in attracting international students and educational system by changing the name of the Office of External Affairs into Office of International Affairs.
Q2. As the world has been suffering from the economic hardship, it is likely that the world after the COVID-19 would be totally different. I think KU has to provide programs in various directions to help students to get jobs despite the economic recession. I would like to know more about the change of the future roles of KU and its directions.
A2. Our university has been providing various employment strategies tailored to students and running related programs. Among them, the Gyeongnam-type Corporate Track Program is a typical example, where blue chip companies in the communities are participating. In addition, KU has provided a job counseling program called Gosanghe (고상해) Dream, for which the major centers of KU are in organic unity. It has done well enough so far, but KU is going to operate more active on-off services for career education considering this situation.
Q3. Gyeongsang National University and Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology pushed for integration scheduled for March 2021. The school name conflict resurfaced. I would like to hear your thoughts on this conflict as President of KU.
A3. The matter was settled by the Supreme Court's final ruling on September 13, 2012. According to the ruling, since the name Kyungnam University has already been given to people for its long use and is widely known, a similar name with the word Gyeongnam is recognized as a similar brand because it is likely to confuse people.
In addition, the Education Ministry's National University Consolidation Standards states that “Unified universities cannot use the same or similar names as those used in other schools that can confuse the public.” If they insist on Gyeongnam National University, our university will be more determined than ever to deal with any attempt to violate the school name. For the past years, KU have tried to keep its school name, so I hope you will love the name of the school even more as a proud student of KU.
Q4. You have devoted your whole life to inter-Korean relations. Thanks to your efforts, our university was recently selected as the organization for Overseas Academic Exchange Support Project for North Korea and Unification. What are your prospects for peace, security, and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and how should young people prepare for a unified future?
A4. This year marks the second anniversary of the 4.27 Panmunjom Declaration through which the two leaders declared the opening of the Peace Era on the Korean Peninsula. There are concerns about the prolonged lull in inter-Korean and North American relations that has continued since last year. However, as seen in the Corona 19 incident, I expect the two countries to expand the space of inter-Korean relations with a new thought enlarged to the non-traditional security areas and drive the denuclearization and peace regime. Young people who will live in the era of unification in the future should have a spirit of youth toward unification. To develop the imagination of unification rather than the forced unification, KU will provide various education and experience opportunities. I ask for your active participation.
Q5. What is the last word you would like to leave to all members of the university, including students and professors?
A5. Over the past few years, our university has carried out large-scale national projects such as the University Characterization Project (CK-I), the Social-Customized Industrial-Academic Cooperation Leading University (LINC+) Project, and the IPP Work-Learning Project. In addition, KU has successfully carried out the Ministry of Education's Project to Train Talents Specializing in Unification Security in Preparation for the Unification Era and the Unification Ministry's Project to Foster Universities Leading Unification Education. In April, it was selected as the organizer of the 2020 Regional Unification Education Center Project in the Yeungnam region. Dear KU members, the environment of university education is changing a lot due to COVID 19, so we should unite and overcome this crisis wisely. Finally, I wish the success of the KUBS, KT, and KU Newspaper. Thank you.