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[Editorial]Quality Life in a Place Other Than Seoul Capital Area : Role of National Universities
제 143 호    발행일 : 2013.10.07 
  The Seoul Capital Area(SCA) is a region located around Seoul, including Gyeonggi-do and Incheon. It has a population of 25.6 million as of 2012, almost the half of total Korean population, according to the wikipedia website, making SCA the second largest metropolitan area in the world, following the Tokyo metropolitan area. Like living in other big cities, living in SCA has some issues such as concentration of poverty, social cost of traffic jam, and many other problems stemming simply from too much people. Yet, about a half of total Korean population still live in SCA and this tendency seems to never go away in the near future. One of most important reasons, I believe, would be unequal chance of opportunity to get a quality job for a person from regions other than SCA since most of quality jobs are only found in SCA. All the resources and information are centralized in SCA as the local governments are financially devastated. This is definitely a waste of national cost. To achieve a GDP per capita more than $40,000, it is inevitable to promote the socioeconomic status of the local provinces and thus, providing a quality life in a place other than SCA.
  The first step to tackle this issue can be started with focusing on higher education. There are 10 flagship national universities at each province in Korea, like CBNU in Chungbuk province. The universities are articular points linking most of relevant social parts ranging from regional economy to regional industry. Quality jobs can be firstly created by supporting the national universities in provinces, thereby eventually allowing a sustainable job eco-system covering universities, industries, research institutes, and local governments in the region. Current "distorted" job market for quality jobs partly monopolized by students graduating from universities in SCA can be corrected by making the 10 national flagship universities better. Successful examples can be found easily all over the world. In Germany, there are so many good universities other than universities in Berlin. The prestigious Max-Planck institutes are distributed over the nation, functioning as regional research hubs. German universities funded by federal and local governments are conducting world-class education and research, constantly providing quality jobs in the region. The people's pride of having their own good university in their province is beyond our imagination. Another example would be Japan's "national seven universities", formally referring to seven major public universities at each region of Japan. They are all world-class universities with numerous Nobel laureates, again working as hubs of higher education, research, regional economy, and quality jobs.
  Thus, it is timely right and anticipated to hear a news that presidents of national universities of Korea will have a meeting held by Congress this month to discuss over how to revamp and activate key roles of a national university in each province. We expect to see fruitful programs and plans, which might be also in accordance with the new government's creative economy agenda.
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