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J. Shim, S. Byeon

Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning - KISTEP (KOREA, REPUBLIC OF)
Engineering schools in Korea have accomplished a great success in education and research for recent decades. Korea has 156 4-year-course engineering schools and graduate 68,000 students every year. The quantitative scale of engineering schools is at top-level in advanced countries, but it’s time to pursue practical and qualitative growth to lead creative economy. This paper shows Korean experience and fundamental plan to innovate engineering schools to enhance cooperation with industries and government.

From the point of view of industry, engineering graduates in Korea show lower understanding in major and practical skills. Also engineering schools show lower international competitiveness and industry-academic interactions and technology transfer. Practical use of ideas and technologies is key in creative economy, but there is a great concern in engineering schools in Korea if they supply enough high quality human resources and proper practical technologies. And these are related with government funding and evaluation system.

The performance evaluation on the government funding programs and university faculties focus on research publications, especially in SCI (Science citation index), leading to theory-based research instead of practical research even in engineering schools. Therefore there is a lack of trust in engineering schools from industry, leading to lower university-industry cooperation.

In curriculum, the ratio of required major course is only 30% of total major credits and certified course is 23.6% only, leading to weak specialty knowledge. Also classes are composed of text and theory-based lectures, instead of participating and field-based lectures, becoming to be uninteresting classes. The evaluation in faculty recruitment also focus on research paper publications, leading to lack of field-sensitive faculties in engineering schools.

To address these problems, engineering schools innovation plan is established including improvement in evaluation system on government funding programs and faculties, and therefore leading to enhancement of university-industry cooperation.

The basic direction is to enhance field-sensitivity of engineering schools. The purpose of this innovation plan is to establish a virtuous ecosystem, in which an improvement of evaluation criteria focusing on practical indicators in the performance of government funding programs leads to the improvement of faculty evaluation and recruitment criteria, and finally improving field-sensitive education and research in engineering schools.

In the performance evaluation, focus is on practical and qualitative indicators such as university-industry cooperation and field-sensitive education activities. In curriculum, focus is to enhance major course education, multidisciplinary convergence education, experiment and practice, and more role of industries in education. In research, focus is on the expansion of dispatch of faculties to companies during their research year, funding on bridge programs to commercialize the developed technologies in universities, etc.