This year marks the 75th anniversary of Kyungnam University (KU). It is also the 64th anniversary of the founding of KU Press, and the 44th anniversary of KU Broadcasting Station (KUBS) and Kyungnam Times (KT). To celebrate the developmentof KU and the successful management of theseorganizations, an interview with President Park Jae Kyu was conducted. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule.
Q1. Since last year, college entrance admissions have been failing to meet its quota at local universities. What are your thoughts and opinions on KU enrollment and what measures and restructure does KU need for its academic departments?
A1. It is inevitable that KU has to reduce the number of enrollment and restructure its academic departments. We will create new departments that are highly favored by students and can meet the needs of the fourth industry and the community as well. In addition, we will specialize the convergence betweenArtificial Intelligence (AI) and Software (SW) in Engineering College, and establish the departments of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Health Care Informatics.
Q2. Do you have any encouraging words for the freshmen and sophomores who have had a difficult time adapting to university life during COVID-19?
A2. The situation may feel unfair, but you can think of an advantage from the perspective of preparing for the upcoming post-corona era. In the near future, non-face-to-face methods will be established nationally including work and daily life. Freshmen and sophomores who started their campus life with COVID-19 should develop their ability to adapt to non-face-to-face situations in the post-corona era.
Q3.The global economy is also in trouble due to the prolonged pandemic. The employment rate for youth is decreasing every year. What are KU’s plans and direction for students looking for employment in the future?
A3. KU is making efforts to cultivate skilled people suitable for newly created jobs due to social and technological changes. For one example, KU is playing a central role in the field of smart manufacturing ICT in the University System of Gyeongnam (USG), a Gyeongnam Regional Innovation Platform. Also, KU is supporting students to lead the era of the fourth industrial revolution, by operating smart factories to upgrade the mechanical industry.
Q4. The College of Education at KU achieved excellent results in the 2020 Teacher Training Institute Competences Diagnostic Assessment conducted by the Ministry of Education and Korean Educational Development Institute. Leaders in Industry-University Cooperation (LINC+) also signed an agreement with Changwon to promote urban regeneration businesses. Then, what is the goal of KU and how do you expect it to be developed?
A4. The College of Education received the best grade in the evaluation of the Ministry of Education, and is actively participating in the regional innovation project. KU will lead student customized education based on AI and guide the way of cultivating students’ creativity. In addition, we are implementing high-tech studios to improve the online education environment, and preparing for the post-corona era with virtual (VR) education and AI-based customized education.KU will invest 100 billion won over the next five years to gain global competitiveness as a cradle for fostering Creative Convergent Future Talent.
Q5. KU Press has been changed to an electronic bulletin, and it is being sent to all faculty members by email. What are your opinions on the three organizations including KUBS and KT.
A5. In line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, KU Press has now become an electronic newspaper. I think it satisfies the new generation of KU students' desire for information and access to it. In the era of multimedia, I urge KU Press to maintain the function as journalism for the university community and strengthen educational training. KT publishes four issues a year, printing 1,000 copies every time, and sends them to middle and high schools in Gyeongnam, national universities, and overseas sisterhood universities. I hope student reporters of KT write articles using English grammar that students can easily understand. I know well that the broadcasting office of KUBS has difficulties operating because it has analog facilities. It is a problem that needs to be solved continuously and gradually.
Q6. 2021 is the third anniversary of the 4.27 Panmunjom Declaration. As the former Minister of Unification, I would like to hear your opinion about peace on the Korean Peninsula and reunification of South and North Korea. In addition, tell us what spirit the youth should have for the united future of Korea.
A6. Currently, not only inter-Korean relations but also North Korea-U.S. and China-U.S. relations are in a stalemate. Therefore, atthe South Korea-U.S. Summit held on May 21, South Korea and the U.S. urged North Korea to resolve the nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations. In order to denuclearize and break the cold war structure in the Korean Peninsula, North Korea should also use inter-Korean and North Korea-U.S. relations as a stepping stone to resolve these issues. What is clear is that peace in the Korean Peninsula is closely related to your present and future lives. That is why we should be interested in unification. I am looking forward to your role in carrying the future of Korea.
Q7. Myanmar's military launched a coup in February and now the people of Myanmar continue to fight for democracy. This reminds me of the democratic movement that happened in Masan, where our university resides. I would like to hear youropinionon the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar based on the 3·15 Masan Democracy Movement and Bu-Ma Democratic Protests.
A7. 3·15 Masan Democracy Movement and Bu-Ma Democratic Protests are historical events that contain the spirit of the people who have achieved a new democratic society against unjust governance. We have to remember that KU played a central role in the history of democratization movements. I send respect and support to the people of Myanmar who continue to protest against military coups and fight for democratization. I hope that the sacrifices of the people of Myanmar for democracy will not be in vain.
Q8. KU has been certified as a language training centerand a degree-certified university in the evaluation of the 2020 International Education Qualities Assurance System (IEQAS) organized by the Ministry of Education. What kind of support and education programs has KU provided for foreign students?
A8. KU has been selected as the certification university for IEQAS for 5 consecutive years since 2017. KU operates a dormitory as a quarantine place for international students arriving from abroad and strives for the safety and health of them. In order to help with international students’ adaptation to life in Korea, KU has provided various programs such as Korean culture lectures, informatization education, and Social Networking Services (SNS) since 2020. In particular, professors from departments with a large number of international students are closely guiding them through Content-Based Instruction.
Q9. In conclusion, would you please give us a message for KU students and faculty members?
A9. Due to the prolonged COVID-19 situation, daily life of university education is experiencing difficulties and changes. KU is actively responding to COVID-19 by investing in building an online education platform that supports academic research. From now on, KU should become a leading university in the post-corona era. Let's all unite and overcome this crisis wisely.Let's lead the future with great pride and strong will. Once again, I wish the three organizations success. Thank you.