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Tuesday,November 29,2022
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The College of Pharmacy: a development hotspot

On June 29th, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs announced that, from 2011, they are going to increase the number of students allotted to the Colleges of Pharmacy.  There are two reasons for this increase: the first is to improve the competitive power of the pharmacy industry; while the second is to solve the problem of student shortages within this discipline. The latter problem has been attributed to the now obsolete requirement for having to take six year courses.  The June decision means that about 390 students have been allocated for each province; crucially, though, Gyeonggi-do is only allowed up to 100 students. 

Starting from December 2009, The Ministry of Education and Science will select universities for the establishment of new colleges of pharmacy.  Quite soon after the announcement was made to set up countrywide colleges of pharmacy, competition between universities in the provinces quickly heated up.  Interestingly, Yonsei University was fiercely criticized for trying to build a pharmacy college on its Song-do campus, even though the original site proposal was earmarked for In-cheon. With all this in mind, Dongguk University (DU) has now officially announced its plan to establish a college of pharmacy on the Ilsan campus.

What lies behind this cut-throat competition? “The field of pharmacy is seen as a hot-spot for potentially huge investment,” explained Jeo Sun-sik, a staff member of the R&D team at Ilsan’s. He continued: “to give an example: the creation of a new medicine will bring in a lot of money for any given university.  Furthermore, the countrywide College of Pharmacy plan is expected to draw a lot of professors along with the expected financial backing.  It seems, then, that the possible high returns in money and prestige is behind the often feral activity of the universities. 


Jeon Byeong-geon, a director of Strategic Planning & Budgeting at DU, also shed some light on the situation: “the discipline of pharmacy has submitted more theses than any other field of study. The reason for this might be that it has become more and more important to determine a university’s ranking by the number of theses written.  It is evident, then, that a College of Pharmacy will give its respective universities a powerful competitive edge.  Also, the study of pharmacy has obvious consequences for society: what is learned in the classroom has its practical application in the production of new medicines.”

If the College of Pharmacy is situated on the Ilsan Campus, related disciplines and institutions such as the Oriental Medicine School and Dongguk Hospital will stand in one place.  “If this happens we shall be able to operate a medical-cluster that should attract many companies,” said Jeon. 


DU has been waiting for the medical-cluster plan for some time.  In 2005, Dongguk established the Medical & Oriental hospital in Go-yeong city.  Last July, the idea of opening up a pharmaceutical college in this city was decided upon. Another example of DU’s commitment to the medical-cluster notion was proven when Dongguk Ilsan campus’ surface-breaking ceremony was performed on the Ilsan campus on August 17th. Ilsan campus will specialize in the field of Medicine & Bio technology.  In addition, DU has made an agreement with hospitals, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies to support student field training.  It is easy to understand why DU is happy that all the different but related institutions are now housed together in one cluster.  Jeon Byeong-geon said: “the plan is about trying to make all these institutions geographically and scientifically close.  It means that the infrastructure is much more coordinated: for example, before the plan, there weren’t any pharmacy colleges in North Gyeonggi-do, the province that Ilsan is located in.  That is why DU is making a great effort to assist in such a development.” 

DU, however, has to compete with several other universities, including Ajou University, Hankook University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), Hanyang University and Kyeong-won University. These universities have their own individual strong points.  For example, HUFS has argued that they can help the Korean pharmaceutical industry global plans by creating networks with foreign universities. 

When it comes to Ajou University, as they have insisted, they have to stand it for more deeply study cooperation with “Gwang-gwo taco bally”.  As for Catholic university, they said, they are suitable for the College of Pharmacy, because they have many relations with hospitals for students’ studies and practicing.  This shows that DU needs to put more effort into this plan.  Despite the fact that eight universities were in serious competition with each other over the Gyeonggi-do site, only 100 students were allocated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs. This shows that DU needs to get on the case and request more student allocation. 

 It is obvious that the establishment of a pharmacy college will greatly benefit our university, so it is paramount that we make the right preparations.  In other words, DU needs to succeed because failure will mean that the university will suffer as a whole.  This December, the result will be announced by the Ministry of Education & Science. The Post expects to hear only good news about this.

Kim Ji-heon  .

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