University Restructuring Team
Results of the mid-term evaluation of the New University of Regional Universities(NURI) project were announced on September 7, 2007, by the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development and the Korea Research Foundation.
The evaluation comes after a three-year implementation of the ministry’s financial support scheme, first launched in 2004 to fund selected local universities so that they may develop specialization in areas of strength and enhance their competitive strength.
The current 130 project teams at beneficiary local universities were put through close assessment starting May this year. Indicators included full-time faculty rates, graduate employment rates, efforts for specialization, the provision of customized curriculum and contribution to regional development. Major achievements over the three-year period and plans for the future were also taken into consideration in evaluation.
Results showed an encouraging increase of academic capacity and university-industry collaboration at participating universities. The NURI project also proved to have contributed significantly to nurturing regional human resources of excellence. A high rate of affirmation came from students, with 65 percent of undergraduate surveyors and 71.48 percent of graduate students replying that the availability of NURI funding had been one of the key determinants in their decision of universities and disciplines.
In detail, the average rate of full-time faculty at participating universities increased from 63.8 percent in 2004 to 85 percent in 2007. The student enrollment rate grew from 96.3 percent in 2004 to 100 percent in 2007. The graduate employment rate saw an increase from 58.9 percent in 2004 to 71.3 percent in 2007. Alongside, beneficiary universities also spurred strong efforts for restructuring, cutting the total student quota by 12,073 over the three years.
There were encouraging improvements in student employability as well. The number of qualifications and certificates earned by students nearly doubled from 12,617 in 2005 to 24,833 in 2007. The ratio of students who acquired high scores in the TOEIC English proficiency test(score 600 and higher) also grew from 21.21 percent in 2005 to 29.13 percent in 2007.
Individually, evaluation results of each project team will be fully reflected in the ministry’s further funding decisions. For the 24 project teams that marked top evaluation results, the ministry will provide an incentive amounting to 3.3 billion Korean won. The ministry has also decided to discontinue support for four project teams with lowest marks, and also cut on the funding amount of 63 project teams that lack in performance.
A total of 12 billion won, which includes 9.2 billion left as a result of fund cutting plus 2.8 billion won earned from interest income and others, will be invested as incentives for excellent on-going projects, and funds for around ten new project teams to be selected in November.