The 46th KAIST Graduate Student Association (GSA) released the results of its survey on the graduate school research environment in KAIST. 1,216 out of a total of 5,725 graduate students responded to the survey evaluating five major issues: laboratory welfare, economic environment, research projects and administrative work, research direction and guidance, and laboratory ethics. Human rights violations were excluded from the evaluation aspects since the Center for Ethics & Human Rights plans to conduct a separate survey regarding the issue.
As per the results, graduate students generally spend an average of 6.2 hours per day on research-related work, 2.14 hours on overtime work, and 2.05 hours for non-research work — quite consistent with the previous year’s survey results. Meanwhile, students pursuing a six-year combined master’s and doctorate degree program reported an average of 7.93 hours of research work and 2.57 hours of non-research work. The survey also revealed that a huge 63.70% percent of the respondents voluntarily worked overtime.
On the other hand, students have a yearly average of 7.28 days of vacation leave, 2.28 of which are unused. Though a relative majority of the respondents had no particular problems with the vacation leaves, those who did either thought they were too short or felt pressured by the professor to not take them.
For research facilities, 17.93% of students responded that their experimental equipment is not up to date. Furthermore, 81.58% responded that office facilities in buildings are not outdated. Nevertheless, the number of respondents who stated that there are problems in equipment and facilities has generally increased.
Finally, the average monthly pay of students went up by 2.87 million KRW from last year, now standing at 126.35 million KRW. However, 67.68% of the respondents said that they do not receive their minimum hourly pay. A GSA speaker assured that it will investigate the matter and resolve the issue. Overall, the results were in many ways similar to those of last year. Regardless, a GSA representative stated that these surveys help hugely in creating or improving policies, and with only a 21.24% turnout of respondents, they encouraged greater participation in surveys to acquire a set of data that better represents the current situation of graduate studies in KAIST.