The School of Humanities and Social Sciences recently announced a major policy change that will effectively reduce the number of lectures taught in Korean. This comes as an unwelcome surprise for many students as it not only reduces the total number of available classes, making it much more difficult to sign up for a humanities course, but it also exacerbates KAIST’s existing problem of the lack of diversity in its relatively minor offering of humanities courses. In presenting this issue to the student body, the Undergraduate Student Council (USC) has stated their opposition to this new policy as well as their continuing efforts to work with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to provide soon-to-be graduating students with the required humanities classes. In order to find out more on this issue, The KAIST Herald sat down with the President of the USC for an interview.
Please briefly introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Keon Young Kim and I am the president of K’loud, the Undergraduate Student Council (USC).
Please give us a brief explanation of the recent policy change enacted by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences has decided to drastically reduce the number of humanities courses that are taught in Korean starting from this Fall semester. Their reason behind this move is to increase the number of students enrolled in the classes that are taught in English.
Has the school replaced the now-missing Korean lectures with more English-taught classes?
No, they have not.
What has been the response of the student body to this change?
In general, the students have been immensely perplexed due to this abrupt decrease in the number of available humanities courses. To add to the confusion, for the last few years the majority of the students have been asking for more classes to be held in Korean; however, the recent decision by the school has effectively gone directly against those wishes.
What has been the response of the Undergraduate Student Council?
According to the consensus of the general student body, we have and are continuing to speak out against this change in policy.
How has the school responded to the criticisms of the student population?
In a nutshell, they have proceeded with their plans to decrease the number of Korean-taught classes without much delay or hesitation.
How do you think the problem will be solved?
At the moment, the issue has settled down with unsatisfactory measures such as a directive to humanities professors to allow for additional students to sign up for courses if they prove that it is their last semester at KAIST. Thus, throughout this Fall semester, the USC will hold talks with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in order to find better, more permanent solutions.
How should the student body unite in their opposition to this new policy?
The USC has already conducted multiple surveys regarding this issue in order to use the responses as the basis for our talks with administration. Finally, is there anything that you would like to say to the students? The student body should realize that they have the right to speak up for themselves and let their voices be heard in the policy-making process within our administration.