Changes to the part-time instructor law are criticized for being abused by universities resulting in the violation of students’ right to education, according to multiple student and instructor organizations. The changes have taken away the chances of students to take diverse classes and the quantity and the quality of classes offered have been downgraded.
The recent amendment that is expected to be enforced in August was proposed to protect the rights of part-time instructors as a part of promoting the rights of the non-regular employees in school. However, schools are criticized by students and instructors for cutting off classes and firing the instructors to avoid an increase in the expenditure.
The general student council of Korea University held a press conference on Feb. 15 to share their situation and promote change in the school policies regarding the quantity and quality of classes for the semester.
“This semester, compared to the last spring semester, 74 major courses had been cut off that the number of major courses offered decreased greatly from 1,687 to 1,613,” the student council stated. “Moreover, 161 humanities courses had also been cut off, from 1,208 to 1,047.”
Chung Ang University was also criticized for firing 264 part-time instructors.
“For this semester, there are only 945 part-time instructors giving lectures,” the headquarter of the university stated. “This is a decrease compared to last spring in which 1,209 instructors were opening classes. However, since there are more classes held by full-time instructors and visiting professors who are not applied to the amendment, the number of the lectures held seems to remain.”
Not only students are the ones suffering from the change, but instructors are also having hardships due to schools not opening classes.
“More than 20,000 part-time instructors have been fired since this winter which is more than the one fourth of the total non-regular instructors,” Angry Part-time Lecturer Solidarity commented. “Decrease in the number of courses, increase in the number of online courses and increase in the number of students allowed to attend the class are all results of the discharge.”
However, the schools are expressing their difficulties in expanding the number of classes offered due to financial issues. The recent amendment requires schools to pay more for the non-regular employees and the schools stated that it is difficult for them to secure the budget needed to abide by the amendment. Meanwhile, the government has decided to support 28.8 billion won this year for schools to improve the conditions of the non-regular instructors.
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