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Thursday,June 17,2021
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Evening Colleges Are Doomed

Evening colleges are doomed. They were established to give workers educational opportunities.
Most universities are downsizing and their first target is abolishing evening college.
Kyungnam University, in line with this, abolished 500 quorums of evening college and other universities also reduced more than 100 students in their evening colleges. As the abolition of evening colleges is at hand, there are frictions associated with the problem between students and School Authorities (SA). This atmosphere also influenced Dongguk University (DU)'s policy.
At DU, most of the evening colleges are to be incorporated into daytime colleges, except two departments. Students, the SA and professors can't  reach an agreement on this issue. We will explore the problems of this process and procedure by the SA and the inner friction behind the University's curtain.

<What happened?>
Abolishing evening college has been discussed over the years and several universities located in Seoul have already started to do it.
The followings is our school's plan to abolish the evening college.
▶In 2001, the evening Dept. of Information System was abolished.
▶In 2003, the SA began to persuade professors in earnest for the abolition of the evening college.
▶On March 2004, a document was discovered by a student during the occupation of the main building that outlined the school's intention to abolish the evening college.
▶On April 13, the Evening College Student Council (ECSC) announced an opposition statement.
▶In May, the SA gave a notice: "The entire evening college will be abolished soon."
▶In June, the evening students cast a special vote: "to abolish or not."
▶On June 14, the SA held special talks with the ECSC students; but they couldn't narrow their differences.

<Support Opinion>
A school official said, "The problems of the evening college caused its abolition."
First, the number of applicants for the evening college has decreased for the past five years. For that reason, the SA decided to unite the evening college with the daytime college. A decrease in applicants seems to be the result of the creation of the Cyber University.
Secondly, DU's average entrance score was falling below other universities' scores  because DU's evening college's entrance score is considerably lower than the daytime's. If this situation continued, DU's reputation will suffer. The Dept. of English Interpretation & Translation and Dept. of Economics agreed with this opinion.

"Actually, there was a disagreement when the SA presented its policy to students and professors.
However, the SA announced that they would guarantee not only students' welfare and facilities but the number of evening-class days approximately 6-7 years from now on.
Also, they have a plan for employing more professors and are drawing up a plan to solve the lack of educational space," said Jeong Eun-hee, the chairperson of the evening Dept. of Economics.

<Opposition opinion>
The ECSC opposed the SA's policy and insisted that the evening college is not responsible for the decrease in applicants nor for the decline of DU's reputation.
"In particular, the SA didn't make any effort to improve the evening college. It seems that they only focus on profit and administrational convenience. Aside from this problem, the SA will deprive worker's the right to study. If the SA carries out this plan, DU is nothing but a aprofit-making organization," said, Kim Yoon-kwon, the chairperson of the ECSC. This is why the Dept. of Management, Dept. of Information Communication Engineering and Dept. of International Trade disagree with the plan.
Lee Young-myoun, a professor in the Dept. of Management, noted, "To carry out this plan, more lecture rooms are needed, but lecture rooms are already limited. The SA emphasized this space problem will be solved, but it didn't explain how."

On the other hand, the Dept. of Information Communication Engineering (ICE) joined the dispute between students and professors. The Dept. of ICE has demanded the right to determine Engineering Accreditation and a course of study for the teaching profession.

<Procedural Problem>
 ▶The SA doesn't regard students as an equal partner
- The SA executed this plan with professors. They didn't seriously consider student opinion. Actually, the SA had been discussing the issue with professors for a year.
On the other hand, the SA didn't inform or discuss the abolition case with students.
The ECSC requested to talk over the matter with the SA, but only one meeting was held.
And the SA didn't accept the result of the special student vote for several reasons: no credibility, low number of voters and a shortage of voting judges.

▶ Each departments has a different point of view
-There are two sides to the evening departments. Three departments, including the Dept. of English Interpretation & Translation, agreed with the SA's policy. But three departments, including the Dept. of Management, objected to abolishing the evening college. Because students consider their benefits rather than DU's growth, the ECSC couldn't keep a consistent position.

<Interview>
Cho Won-saeng, the Dean of Academic Support
"At first, this plan was not likely to work well. However, we saw this policy through a new perspective as a long-range plan to advance Donggukians' ability and DU. I hope that students, not only daytime students but also evening students, would know this plan is helpful. We are ready to confer with students and professors."

<Interview>
Kim Yoon-kwon, the chairperson of ECSC
"Some daytime students still don't know this situation. We need the concern of not only evening students but also daytime students. The ECSC will continue to fight against this project and will support each evening department's position."

<<Conclusion>>
Although they couldn't reach an agreement, the SA seems to adhere to their one-sided policy. But this plan can't be accomplished with only the SA's effort. The SA should cooperate with professors as well as evening students. The SA should consider a reasonable alternative for the remaining 6 evening departments. Also, the ECSC has to end its negative attitude against the SA's policy and should think about the important value of this plan.

Choi Young-jun  cyjpizza@dongguk.edu

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