HOKMA College of General Education (HCGE)’s General Education Curriculum Revision plan has become the subject of controversy. The revision will be put into action from 2020, and aims to encourage more students to do double majors and minors.
Major changes include merging two mandatory Korean language courses, “Korean Language and Writing” and “Reading Classics and Writing,” into one class. Whether or not “Share Leadership” remains mandatory will be up to each college’s decision.
Moreover, the revision suggests that coding classes with a minimum of six credits will be added as a new graduation requirement from originally three credits in Convergence Basics.
In response to this announcement, the Student Government Association (SGA) responded by holding a survey regarding the plan to collect students’ opinions about this change. SGA held an assembly entitled “Enter the syllabus:WWW” on Aug. 6 in ECC to criticize the incomplete syllabuses due to the amended instructor law and the lack of communication with students.
Skepticism first arose among students over whether the compulsory general education curriculum revision had any causal relationship with the amended instructor law, which guarantees lecturers in universities a more stable income and better treatment.
Byeol Da Jul (BDJ), the student union protesting to reconstruct the essential humanities classes, claimed that the recent revision has correlation with the amended instructor law.
These mandatory Korean language courses are small in size, as it ranges from 30 to 35 students. In order to open enough classes to accommodate everyone, the school will need to hire more instructors with higher wages due to the amended instructor law.
In response to this argument, the school claimed that the discussions on the revision began in March 2018, and passed the plenary session on December, which was prior to the amended instructor law.
Furthermore, the two student bodies expressed discontent from the lack of direct negotiation between the students and the school. SGA contended that the school should negotiate face-to-face with students when renewing curriculums.
“Universities such as Korea University and Soongsil University provide academic affairs councils so that students can participate when schools restructure curriculums,” said BDJ. “We have requested Ewha to form a council where students’ voices can be heard.”
Moreover, the student body raised concerns over the fact that the school did not promptly notify students of the general education curriculum revision.
The school planned on announcing the revision in September. However, this decision has received criticism from students for notifying unilaterally without considering student opinions.
“We tried our best effort to garner student thoughts through two trials of surveys in November 2018, in which 943 students participated, and the one in the following December, with 452 student who replied,” the school rebutted.
The survey questions asked whether students would be satisfied with the decreased number of mandatory general education classes and the increase of computing courses.
The school denied the need for an academic affairs council by adding that larger percentage of students approved of the school’s directions for revision and that renewing curriculums is a realm that needs educational expertise.
The final clash was upon the SW concentration courses, which will be a graduation requirement with a minimum of six credits. Student bodies are questioning whether the SW concentration had a link with the decrease in general education courses. However, the school has negated this.
“Only the Convergence Basics classes that have computing-related contents will remain in the new coding and computing courses,” the school commented. “We are planning to open five more Convergence Basics classes in the second semester so that this will alleviate competition during the registration period, which Convergence Basics is notorious for.”
“We want to stress that this 2020 General Education Curriculum Revision only affects students who enter Ewha starting from 2020,” said HOKMA College of Education. “The school will continue to provide graduation requirement courses for current students, which means the number of classes will not decrease for now.”