[EDLING:847] Universities are Paring Language Curriculums
Francis M Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Mon Jun 13 14:23:10 UTC 2005
Universities are paring language curriculums
June 08, 2005 ¤Ñ University-level instruction in second-tier foreign languages, meaning
everything but English, is mostly in decline because fewer and fewer students see them as
useful in getting jobs.
Pressured by the Ministry of Education, universities are carrying out reorganization
plans, and a main target is foreign language departments. With fewer students in these
languages, schools are combining majors and changing disciplines.
Seoul National University students in the language and literature departments are an
example. Fifty-seven students selected English as a major and 80 Chinese. But only five
each chose French and German; only seven picked Spanish and only one Russian.
Konkuk University decided to do away with its French and German majors, making a new
combined major called "EU Culture Information," in which it accepted 51 new students this
year. Jeonju University will also unify its French and German majors into "European
Languages and Culture." This new major has accepted 42 students, down from the 72 it had
in the previous French and German majors. Change at Kyungnam University is more drastic,
with only a Chinese major and the dropping of Russian, French and German.
Korea University, Kyung Hee University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies are
considering alternatives, such as holding a joint class in a doctorate course for
second-tier foreign languages in one classroom. Some second-tier language majors at Korea
University are also looking for ways to create practical education for students to help
them get jobs related to their majors.
"I cannot accept this decision, for there was no mutual agreement," said a professor of
German at Chung-Ang University, which will cut by 40 percent its French and German majors
from the 2006 academic year.
Ahn Byung-jik, the dean of academic affairs at Seoul National, said, "What we need now is
a long-term measure, considering that Chinese, which now is popular, had only a few
students up until the 1980s."
by Baek Il-hyun <sujiney at joongang.co.kr>
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