Thursday, April 14, 2011

Suicide at KAIST - My Viewpoint

Korea, among developed nations, is a country with the highest cases of suicide. In just a span of few months, 4 students and a professor committed suicide at the same university - KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). For the Korean students there, they blamed it on the overly competitive environment since KAIST is among the top university in Korea.

KAIST has an unique system whereby students who do not attain CGPA of 3.0 and above will be penalized with deduction of the full scholarship given to all KAIST students. Some students already with study pressure will have to then find other means in earning money to pay the penalty if he/she failed to achieve the expected result.

The core issues are not the penalty imposed to "weak" students but in my opinion, the students' mindsets and through it, the Korean education system must change. From young, the students were taught to be the best so that they can easily find employments. Henceforth, the students hate failures and will usually work hard until he/she achieve what they want in life. For them, maybe entering the best university like KAIST?

When a person enters the best university, of course, he/she must do the best. If a person fails to achieve the expected result in a competitive environment, do you blame the system of penalizing the "weak"? Or do you blame the students? Again in my opinion, we should choose the right university not based on ranking or because of good employability in future. We should choose it based on the environment itself.

If a person knew that he could not cope with extreme stress, by all means pick a less competitive university. A less competitive university (most probably with lower ranking) does not equates the students as weak students. From young, I believe a university is the place to nurture us to be matured individuals and not wholly about studies. Though, my mum like all Korean mothers, thought of it otherwise - Good results are a must.

Hence, the students must be able to make decisions not based on other people's opinions but his/her true intentions based on his/her capabilities. Since what that shapes our lives are through our actions, if we want to live in a competitive environment, we should really be prepared for it. Instead of pointing the blame at the competitive environment, I think the students ought to be prepared when faced with it.

Though I do not blame the KAIST students for suggesting that competitive environment is the cause of suicide, but first, we must always ask, what makes the environment there so competitive? Isn't it the students' mindsets?

(This is just my opinion/views on the recent spate of suicide in Korea and I am sincerely sorry if I did offend anyone. I am just a 2nd year university student, so I am never a qualified person to comment on this. My view can be wrong because there are other better opinions around on the causes of suicide there at KAIST. Thanks for reading.)


Amirah A. said...

Hey Kyle, I'm planning to go study in Korea but I feel insecure because of my belief and that I am wearing a scarf... Where do you think is a suitable university for me to enroll in or at least where most malaysians are?

kyle said...

Most Malaysians are in Seoul especially in SNU (Seoul National University), Yonsei and Korea University. They are all JPA and MARA sponsored students.

the problem is that malaysians there tend to "flock" among themselves and so... it's more like attending a m'sian university than in korea. hope you get what i mean?

how about universities in Incheon? or even in Daegu (or in my uni)? frankly it's really not really a big deal to be wearing a scarf there..

Amirah A. said...

Ah... I researched about SNU and it did look interesting but I want to explore more and see other choices they have there... About your university, the one in Daegu? Can u give me link so I can refer... That will be helpful :) and I don't think I'm the 'flocking' type ;)

kyle said...

kyungpook national university

But you need to attend korean language classes before you enroll yourself in that undergraduate program. If you are a master student, it is a lil' easy. the good thing about studying here in daegu is that cost of living is way lower than in seoul. and fewer distractions too.. :)

Yi Teng said...

Recently I have taken much interest in studying chemical engineering KAIST. Though I have so many uncertainties and confusion, so it would be much help if you are willing to explain the details to me. Is it possible for me to talk to you through email?

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