Domestic universities are now allowed to sell their own curriculum to foreign universities like a franchise business. Students who achieve a diploma from such franchise education curriculum will be acknowledged as a domestic university graduate.
Such franchise education law has been passed on Nov. 9 during the National Assembly, to address changes within higher educational institutions and private universities. Out of the seven new educational policies passed on the same day, the franchise law caught the most attention nationwide, with more educational experts proposing a need for international exchange and educational expansion within the international society.
The law allows higher educational institutions to provide developing countries with their own specialized education curriculums, and offers a diploma to qualified students.
Until now, the international expansion of domestic universities has been carried out through establishing branch schools abroad or constructing common education curriculum through partnerships with foreign schools. However, the Ministry of Education (MOE) revealed the need to vary the means of global expansion, and hoped that the franchise law would be the first great step to active international exchange.
In addition, public universities must also implement the Board of Trustees, with high participation of students and faculty. Currently, all private universities are obligated to implement such Board of Trustees, yet public universities have been given the final say to such choice. Only 17 of 49 public universities have opened such academic senate.
With drastic measures by the MOE, Ewha has not yet concreted such motion. Rather, Ewha Communication Team emphasized that Ewha will be adhering to the educational modifications mentioned in the General Assembly, but does not have particular plans yet.
However, with President Kim’s recent visits to Vietnam and the United States to expand Korean education and strengthen Ewha’s international partnerships, the school is honing its international affairs by promoting an open-minded active exchange with foreign universities.
Lee Han-byul, a junior in the Department of Educational Technology expressed both hope and concerns for the school’s implementation of such new educational amendments.
“If our university were to follow the new amendment, its global reputation would be improved since more people will recognize the name ‘Ewha’ worldwide,” Lee stated. “Additionally, the franchise universities receiving Ewha’s education curriculum can support students to become global thinkers, similar to Ewha’s innovative mission statement of globally expanding.”
However, Lee also mentioned possible drawbacks of the new educational policy.
“Some people may abuse this policy and use it as a way to easily get diplomas from prestigious Korean universities,” Lee said. “Also, with domestic campuses operating on a limited budget, using money to manage global campuses would mean less chances for domestic students to receive diverse opportunities and experiences.”
Lee hoped that the franchise law would not become a serious commercialization issue among universities, but rather a modest and effective international exchange policy that gives more opportunities for domestic students to become global thinkers.
She also recognized the need for serious discussions and debates by university members before such franchise law is put into practice.