SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Korea Bizwire) – A Ph.D student at the University of Iowa recently published a report indicating that students attending one of the three SKY universities (Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University), often considered the best post-secondary institutions in South Korea, are strongly inclined towards attaining upward social mobility through their educational advantage.
The report was drafted by conducting 50 to 60 minute interviews with nine male and six female students between the ages of 18 and 29 and who were attending one of the SKY universities.
Through the interviews, the interviewers gleaned the students’ core beliefs regarding their educational status, and crafted 100 different statements regarding those beliefs, which were then shown to and graded by the students on a scale of 1 to 5 on how much they were in agreement.
The nine major topics of the 100 statements were ambition for upward social mobility, uncertainty regarding the future, stereotypes about educational status, modesty in opting not to reveal one’s educational status, differentiating people based on educational status, socioeconomic rewards attached to educational status, educational legacy (parents with higher educational status generally ensure their children will have comparable or higher educational status), pressures and expectations, and prejudicial treatment on grounds of educational status as a socially acceptable norm.
The students rated statements on upward social mobility and educational legacy the highest with average scores of 4.03 and 3.88 respectively, while the statements on modesty came lowest with a score of 3.39.
The main author of the report said her personal experiences attending a so-called elite university after graduating from a provincial high school served as motivation for the study. She stated she had observed frequent cases of students taking advantage of the privileges guaranteed them through their educational status, rather than partaking in self-examination and reflection on the environment in which such privileges are created.
She also pointed out that a university counseling center to help address the issues raised in her report among students would become more important going forward.