Monday, February 22, 2010

Let's Spend 150 Billion Won...Specifics? What Specifics?

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) wants to spend 150 billion won to upgrade their University to the top 50 of globally ranked universities. This isn't a bad idea in theory. Do they want smaller, better quality classes? Are they making their standards of education more rigorous? Oh no, they plan on hiring 10 Nobel Laureates or Field medalists and making the campus English only from March. The article in the Korea Times (somewhat ironically given their own sub par relationship with facts/stats) was actually a bit mocking of the utter lack of specific details on HOW they plan on attracting more laureates, aside from money. One of the primary reasons cited for the reason prestigious scholars from abroad only stay for about 4 months is a difficulty adjusting to life in Korea, thus the change to the English only campus. (Aside from the fact that in Korea English seems to be synonymous with prestige for organizations.)  Culture shock doesn't come solely from the fact that people have suddenly lost their ability to communicate. It has to do with the utter alieness that surrounds every aspect of your new life and how difficult the most mundane of tasks can become.  If the university wants to retain it's scholars better maybe it should also provide more cultural classes and events for their staff. Not to mention a bilingual assistant to help them get settled...

Ugh. It's just so naive that thinking money alone can change everything. Yes, money definitely helps but it isn't the be all end all. Change requires a lot more than throwing money at a project.

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