Universiti​es support students' childbirth and caring with new semester take-off system
Universiti​es support students' childbirth and caring with new semester take-off system
  • Ahn In-kyeong
  • 승인 2014.03.16 12:25
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An increasing number of universities is implementing childbirth and childcare take-off semester to support maternal responsibility and heop students keep pursue academics.
An increased number of universities is implementing childbirth and child care take-off semester system which allows students to take off additional four semesters. Students were only allowed to take six semesters off before. Those who already took off more than six semesters for other reasons such as doing part-time jobs or preparing for employment can now also take extra semesters off to bear and raise children.
According to a survey conducted by Anti-Corruption and Civil rights Commission in 2011, 66 percent of universities in the nation did not allow students the privilege of taking extra semesters off. Observing the impracticality of the current policy, the commission devised the system and advised 47 national and public universities and about 180 private universities to cooperate. 
As a result, in 2014, all the national and public universities in Korea adopted the new policy and 86 percent of private universities in Korea implemented the new system. Among them are Korea University and Dongguk University. Korea University implemented “childbirth and child care taking-off system” since this semester to  pursue gender equality. The school used to only allow graduates the privileges, not undergraduates. Undergraduates could only take the general take-off system or take-off when joining the army.
“We added the new system in order to satisfy various needs of students in accordance to the current trend,” said an official of Korea University who wishes to remain anonymous. “Only female students can apply for the take-offs in case of pregnancy and childbirth. However, male students can also apply when it comes to child care.”
Dongguk University also implemented the system.
“We expect to relieve the burden of students who had to stop pursuing academics because of pregnancy, childbirth and child care,” said Baek Seung-kyu, an official at the Academic Affairs of Dongguk University. “Under the ‘Article 67’ of school regulations, for those who have child under the age of eight can take at most two semesters off. In case of those who are pregnant or giving childbirth can take a total of six semesters off, but at most two semesters in a row.  
“This is a matter of human right,” Beak said. “University students are grown-ups. They may get married during school time and we want to respect their decision.”
Kookmin University and Sogang University also adopted the system starting the spring semester of 2014.Yonsei university already had the system for undergraduate students since Dec. 2012 and modified the rule to include graduate students starting this spring semester. Ewha is considering to implement the system. 
“Ewha students can take the maximum of six semesters off,” said Kang Hak-su, an official of Registrar. “Although we think this is adequate amount of time for now, if the trend is like this, we are still considering extending the number of semesters.”
Ewha has not yet concluded anything officially, but will review the regulation along with the trend. Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission hopes more universities to support relevant students.
“All the national and public universities’ decisions to adopt the system is the result of universities’ active engagement,” said an official of Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission who wishes to remain anonymous.
“We expect even more private universities to follow the steps that others have taken.”

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