Kang, who majors in the College of Economics & Business Administration, became a sophomore this year. He had a huge dream that he could learn economics in earnest. He expected that he could eagerly discuss journalism with his professor in the class.
However, when he entered the class of Understanding Microeconomics, he was surprised. Although he got to his classroom 20 minutes before the class, over fifty students sat densely in a classroom. During the lecture, Cho could not easily see the lecture material. “I am satisfied with the qualities of classes, but too many students study in one classroom. I feel cramped,” Kang complained.
Hanyangians who has complaints about the lectures like Kang would have a curiosity about the ratio between the students to a professor. However, this would not be only the Hanyangians’ curiosities. According to Min Byung-doo, who was the member of National Assembly, the ratio of students to professors hit the highest level all the world. While an average of 15.5 students learned from one professor in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, each professor in Korea teaches an average of 31.2 students. Then, what is the ratio of Hanyang University (HYU)’s students to professors?
The Ratio of Students to Professors in HYU
Because the ratio of students to professors was initially issued by Min Byung-doo, the Korean government passed the law that universities should have a duty to open their specific information for the public in 2007. So, the website, www.academyinfo.go.kr, managed by Korean Education Development Institute, was established by Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology in 2008. In the information, it includes each university’s ratio of students to professors. The ratio of HYU was also opened.
According to Korean Education Development Institute (KEDI)’s data, the situation in Seoul campus of HYU might be more serious than the one in ERICA campus. The Seoul campus of HYU rates an average of 30.1 students to a professor. Compared with the top nine-ranked universities in Seoul, Seoul campus is ranked by sixth. Unlike HYU, Seoul National University ranked the first as being a ratio of 16:1. In ERICA campus, each professor teaches an average of 26.3 students.
College of Engineering is one of the most densely populated colleges in Seoul campus of HYU. The averaged student-professor ratio of the college is 44:1. In the College of the Engineering Sciences in ERICA campus, each professor teaches an average of 25 students. Furthermore, compared with top nine-ranked universities’ college of engineering, Seoul campus’s statistic was recorded with the highest density.
Divided Hanyangians’ Opinions
Then, how do Hanyangians think about this problem? According to the survey with 100 Hanyangians from March 12 to 13, 66 percent of Hanyangians think that too many students study in their major classes. And 84.8 percent of these respondents answered large scale of students feel uncomfortable during their lectures. When respondents were asked why they were uncomfortable, 57.1 percent of them answered that the atmosphere is not prepared.
Committee of Colleges’ Student Representatives in Seoul campus takes a strong stand on student-professor ratio. Ahn Seung-Soon, the member of Committee of Colleges’ Student Representatives, said the ratio of HYU shows the situation that professors cannot concentrate on students. There are poor recruiting policies in each college. For example, there were undiscerning recruitment in the Law School, It is known that situations are worse in some colleges “Standards which estimate quality of education are not just luxury buildings or results of entrances. HYU needs to focus on diversity of students,” Ahn explained.
GSA in ERICA campus has a similar opinion with GSA in Seoul campus. They said the ratio depicted low statistic than other university, however the situation aggravates if one looks into each college or department. “In the case of the College of Economics & Business Administration and Engineering Sciences, a popular course in which students choose as a minor, there are shortage of classes making some students unavailable to take the class,” Yoo Ye-seul, the president of GSA in ERICA campus explained.
On the other hand, opinion of each professor is different. “In the case of classes in College of Humanity, there is a need for interaction between students and professors. Thus, there is a need for more professors to lower the quantity of students per class making it an easier environment for students to show off their innovative thoughts,” Chon Bum-soo, the professor in the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication explained about the importance of interaction during the classes.
However, professors in the College of Engineering do not feel any necessity to reduce the ratio. “We just deliver theoretical knowledge. So, to premise good infrastructures and well-prepared assistants, 60 to 70 students per each class are possible. It would be better to discuss about the shortage of retaking students,” Lee Kwan-soo, a dean in the fourth College of Engineering said. Professor Im Seung-soon emphasized the attitude of students. “There are some students who do not prepare to study their majors. I think it is the lack of students’ passion for study. No matters are related with ratio of students per professors.”
School Administration, “We Do Make an Effort.”
Then, what do the school’s administration managers have to say? Song Jeong-Ok, a manager of Department of Student Affairs, conceded that securing full-time professors is lacking. “The ministry of Education, Science, and Technology unofficially designated a 65 percent of securing professor is a good rate. HYU’s data recorded slightly over 65 percent, but it is a fact that the data is a little bit smaller than other private universities,” She explained the situation.
Department of Academic Affairs which manages classes of students and professors agreed with the fact that the more professors teach, the better quality is created. However, the manager said that it is difficult to set the classes up for satisfying all of the students’ demands. “For example, lectures of economics and business are the most popular lectures that students want. We make an effort to make lectures, but demand is considerably exceeded. It is inevitable that we cannot satisfy all of students’ needs in some specific subject,” Park Ki-joon, the assistant manager of Department of Academic Affairs said.
Opinions between GSA and administration about the recruitment of professor were different. “Professors in Seoul campus decreased in the past several years,” Ahn Seung-soon said. On the other hand, “It does not make any sense of decreasing of professors. Like other universities, full-time professors are increasing every year in HYU.” Park Ki-joon explained the situation.
When asked about the high students-professor ratio of KEDI’s data, administration answered the data is different to what we have and the method in collecting the data is different with other universities.
What will be the Solution?
For solving these problems, HYU’s administration said that they are still making an effort to decrease the ratio and satisfy students’ needs. In case of last year, they reduced the term of recruitment two to five times. “Considering the process for recruiting full-time professors is more complicated than part-time professors, it was done frequently. President of HYU has strong opinion to recruit more full-time professors,” Kim Hyun-soo, assistant of manager in Department of Student Affairs, explained about the process of recruitment.
On the other hand, GSA of both campuses will continuously require the betterment of the substantial ratio. Committee of Colleges’ Student Representatives in Seoul campus is scheduled to receive requests from each college and files to requests to HYU after the vote is made. In case of GSA in ERICA campus made an effort to improve. Yoo Ye-suel said that the only solution to the problem of the shortage of professors is to successfully end the assembly of students and collect and file to requests to the HYU.”
There are many standards to estimate a university’s value. However, the official estimation can be different with reality. Seeing the survey result, over 60 percent of Hanyangians feel there are too many students in the classroom. For the improvement of this problem, HYU needs “communication” with students and professors. “It should be important to decrease the ratio of KEDI. But school needs to decrease Hanyangians’ relative and sentiment ratio per each class,” Yoo Ye-seul said.
Also, GSA should negotiate with the administration. “HYU is a private school, so recruitment for professors has high-cost budget. Discussing tuition is inevitable,” Professor Im Seung-soon said. Also, some professors say they do not need classes of minority. In this point of view, GSA needs to request the reasonable initiatives to the administration.
One of the HYU’s slogans is Engine of Korea. If students and professor study and research in a peaceful environment, that will result Hanyangians to be a stronger engine of Korea.