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Triumph for Ewha Womans University students

Posted August. 04, 2016 07:01,   

Updated August. 04, 2016 07:12

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In the ten-year-old Korean movie The War of Flower, actress Kim Hye-soo showed off her seductive performance as a femme fatale. When forced under arrest by a detective on the scene, the private casino owner Madam Jeong (played by Kim) raised her eyebrows and snapped "I'm an Ewha Womans University alumna." The famous line was spoken by Kim who flew into a rage at the detective who said "a brief time (in jail) will do." The line became somewhat famous, often used as a mild sarcasm to mock intellectual, pretty, and lofty Ewha Womans University graduates born with a silver spoon.

Ewha Womans University has been plagued with the sit-in staged at the main hall by students resisting plans to establish a continuing education college called "Light up Your Future in Ewha (LiFE) college" open to the employed. The police was sent to put down the fourth consecutive day of protests Saturday, but was rather met with more sit-in participants and sharper criticism by alumnae and the council of professors who denounced the plan, saying, "This important issue was stuck in unanimous opposition from all the stakeholders due to railroaded decision." As a result, the university gave in to the opposing parties Wednesday.

Along with Dongguk University, Ewha Womans University has been selected earlier this month as a recipient of the second life-time education financing project held by the Ministry of Education. The university planned to open two major courses -- the new media industry for media contents planning and producing; wellness industry for health, nutrition, and fashion studies -- under the LiFE college. Ewha underlined positive outcomes such as providing quality education to temporary female workers and social minorities. However, students and graduates strongly resisted to the plan, claiming that their school is making attempts to “trade 130 years of legacy with 3 billion won (2.68 million U.S. dollars)" and "sell diplomas with commercial motives."

Students made a point that the education quality will suffer once hasty decision to establish a night college is realized. Nonetheless, their opinions are not free from sharp criticisms that they are upholding academic elitism to boycott quality life-time education system vital for the future. Moreover, the Ministry of Education is met with mounting criticism that it is holding the purse-strings and shaking universities under the guise of "government-funded projects for universities." Furthermore, the recent protest dealt a huge blow to the leadership of Ewha President Choi Kyung-hee, who is nearing the second year of her term. Some professors point out that Choi shows "poor communication skills" as a leader, citing President Park Geun-hye who is also labeled as "no communication."