|Certificates of ABEEK are displayed, which provide students with curriculum of Engineering subjects. /Photograph: Lee Jong-seok|
“It’s really disappointing news that my department did not get ABEEK accreditation. My hard work over the past four years has failed to meet my expectations,” he said.
A student majoring in Information & Communication Engineering also follows the ABEEK curriculum. He complained that ABEEK requires students to take too many design classes, in which small groups of students have to work together on engineering projects. As a result, he had to take classes during winter vacation in order to graduate on time.
Another student, who decided to double major in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and English Translation & Interpretation, had no choice but to abandon the ABEEK curriculum. “Pursuing a double-major alongside the ABEEK curriculum is nearly impossible,” he said.
These are some examples of complaints by engineering students who are studying in departments that maintain ABEEK-approved curriculums. ABEEK is a certificate program that requires engineering students to follow a highly structured curriculum consisting of math, science, and computer science courses.
In the United States, universities began adopting international engineering education accreditation programs in 1932. ABEEK was established in Korea in 1999 and began its accreditation programs for university students in 2001. As of 2011, 42 Korean universities are members of ABEEK and 277 engineering programs are accredited.
However, many Korean universities have decided to discontinue the accreditation program because the requirements for graduation are too structured. These universities have opted to develop their own engineering programs for students. Last year, for example, both Korea University of Electrical Engineering and Seoul National University of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering renounced the ABEEK program.
Given the fact that Dongguk University was the first university in Korea to adopt ABEEK program standards, it had a head start in educating engineering majors. However, this year, the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical, Robotics and Energy Engineering decided to discontinue the ABEEK program. Students who diligently followed the rigorous curriculum now feel extremely disappointed.
Recently, The Dongguk Post sat down with Professor Ahn Jong-seok, the director of the ABEEK center at Dongguk. He gave some advice to students who are deciding whether to continue with ABEEK or not.
Q. The Post: Please explain to us in detail what the ABBEK program is exactly.
A. Ahn: The ABEEK program provides engineering students with a well-organized curriculum, which makes it easier to set goals and balance technical knowledge and basic knowledge like science, math, and computer skills. It also provides a tool to evaluate the achievement of objectives.
Q. The Post: But some students complain of its demanding requirements. They want to double major in other subjects.
A. Ahn: There is some misunderstanding about the ABEEK program. It runs another curriculum for students who have a double-major, want to change majors, or come from another country. Basically, it provides a standards-oriented curriculum that students follow.
Q. The Post: Some engineering departments failed to obtain ABEEK accreditation this year. What should students in these departments do?
A. Ahn: Yes, it’s true that the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical, Robotics and Energy Engineering failed to receive accreditation. But those students don’t have to worry about this because the same curriculum applies to them.
I expect that a combined curriculum that mixes at least majors to meet the industry demands will be launched in the near future.
Q. The Post: Have any further plans to resume the ABEEK program been made?
A. Ahn: Actually, it’s up to each engineering department to decide whether to continue ABEEK or not. For example, the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering is waiting to see what the new guidelines for ABEEK will be. I hope that these majors will continuously endeavor to provide better curriculum enough to replace ABEEK. I am hopeful that changes will be made in the near future.
Lee Jong-seok email@example.com
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