Graduation Postponement and Employment Rate
Winners of the Panel Survey of Employment Symposium
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The employment rate in South Korea is marking its lowest every year. The young generation is going through the so called 'Giving Up Syndrome', meaning that in order to lead an employed, sustainable life, one has to give up several factors- love, marriage, children, one's own house, relationships, and more. To find out more about job opportunities, college students are postponing their graduation. However, graduation postponement incurs shortage of faulty members per student and a lower school appraisal in accordance with student employment rate. To ascertain the correlation between graduation postponement and the employment rate, Ph.D. students of the Department of Education at Hanyang University's Graduate School, Lee Jeon-e, Yu Ji-hyeon, and Kang Young-min, have researched and grabbed their award at the symposium held by KEIS (Korea Employment Information System). News H met Yu and Kang for an analytical insight into their research.
Changes in perception
Graduation postponement is a term that differs from a leave of absence, meaning delaying the date of graduation after fulfilling all the graduation requirements. In the beginning of this policy’s application, a number of universities disfavored those in need of graduation postponement. “Students who need to graduate and get a job are in deep trouble nowadays due to the low employment rate and limited job openings. Since they don’t want to be idle and unemployed for years, they delay their graduation and search for jobs while retaining the sense of belonging to the school,” said Yu. However, considering these students’ circumstances, the government decided to advise universities to provide better services for students in need of postponement.
Using the GOMS (Graduates Occupational Mobility Survey), graduation postponement is positively affecting the employment rate of university students. However, doing nothing during the delay would mean nothing. “It is imperative for these students to get involved in work experience like internships and professional consultations. Also, universities should run a career development center and its diversified services efficiently,” advised Kang. Both Yu and Kang referred to the case of Hanyang University as an exemplary case, considering its efforts and financial support for the Career Development Center. (To see more, click here.)
Yu and Kang both suggest all colleges to run programs that can help students be employed while granting them credits. “We do worry that the concept of the university is changing- from the academic hub to an employment preparation center. However, the status quo of South Korea is extremely unstable that without such occupational preparations, the young generation can’t properly get a job,” emphasized Yu.
Hopes for the Korean education system
The selection of the thesis topic contributed to the winning of the KEIS Symposium. “Graduation postponement became a momentous issue for the young generation and the GOMS data have been established in 2014 separately from the leave of absence. This shows the facet of Korea’s reality,” said Kang. Being aware of the seriousness in the Korean education system and its effects on the employment rate, Yu and Kang both expressed their willingness to change the education system.
Although they are walking down a similar lane, Yu and Kang have chosen different paths. In the case of Kang, she had always been interested in education itself and graduated from the Department of Educational Engineering and went to the graduate school of the same major. “As my perspective of viewing education broadened from micro to macro, my desire to research more on education was augmented,” said Kang. Now, she is working at the National Institute of Lifelong Education, working specifically on adult education.
Yu, however, graduated from the Department of English Education and worked for a textbook production company. Inquiring the reasons behind the low quality of South Korean textbooks that students no longer utilize, she decided to enter graduate school at a late age. “Even though Kang and I have had different experiences, we cooperated to produce an intricate paper on a career-developing education in the hope of becoming helpful education researchers,” said Yu.
Collecting preceding research papers and distinguishing the results in intricate ways to verify the correlation between graduation delay and employment was hard work. But with the help of their professor Park Ju-ho and his amendments, they were able to successfully end the journey. “We are not recommending students to delay their graduation just because our research proves a positive correlation. Making use of career development programs and multi-major policies of universities would be the most beneficial direction that we can suggest,” said Yu and Kang.
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Moon Ha-na
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