Beginning this year’s fall semester, seniors can change their majors if they complete the required credits of the new major. Previously, changing majors were only allowed for sophomores and juniors, but the Ministry of Education (MOE) has decided to make the change to support students in strengthening their competence and lower the unemployment rate.
“Through the amendment of this implementing ordinances, seniors could prepare to strengthen their competence in employment,” an official of Ministry of Education said. “Extended major choices for them will be beneficial.”
2015 MOE statistics showed that the number of students who chose to change their majors has increased from 9,959 to 14,723 in 2014, which serves as an evidence to how there is a large demand for major changes. 27 percent among them, 3,899 students, changed their majors into Economics and Business Administration. As more and more young adults are unemployed, it is common to see students continue to contemplate their major as well as their career even throughout their senior year.
By allowing students an extended length of time to change their majors and courses, the new policy could give the students more opportunities to carefully consider their career and employment. The MOE is also examining to rearrange course credits in order for seniors to complete their required credits in quicker ways considering their unemployment.
However, some students shared their concerns about the amendment, pointing out that such change does not solve the fundamental problem.
“I agree that providing seniors with the opportunity to change their majors is a good change,” remarked Nam Hyun-ji, a senior of Yonsei University. “However, it does not seem like an adequate move to make if this changed stemmed as a solution to solve youth unemployment.”
Nevertheless, many have also shown positive responses to the change.
“As a senior student, I welcome the change that MOE has made,” said Lee Ji-yoon, a senior majoring in Economics. “It will broaden the range of major choices for seniors which will be beneficial since seniors devote more time to considering their career than younger students.”
However, she added that students should not only focus on acquiring merely the degree certificate of the changed major but also thorough completion of the courses. She expressed that curriculum should be prepared.
Meanwhile, despite the MOE’s positive intentions, controversies remain regarding the effectiveness of the amendment. While some experts maintain that it will give more opportunities to students, others express concern that it will compromise the level of academic concentration.
“Changing majors is not a bad thing,” said Jang Dong-sik, a professor of Korea University, in an interview for the Daily UNN. “However, it will only be about obtaining the degree, without achieveing academic depth, which is a source of worry for many.”
Since allowing students in their senior year to be able to change their majors is up to the individual decisions of each university, many institutions are contemplating this change. Currently, Ewha does not have any plans on discussing any policy changes.
“Currently, we have not discussed about changing majors of seniors so we have nothing to comment on the subject,” said a professor of Ewha.
Reporters: Kim jee-min, Kim Ka-young, Pak Gee-na