Spring has arrived and school is in session but over a year into the pandemic, not much has changed on campus at South Korean universities.
Classrooms still lie empty, waiting for the return of in-person education.

“With most universities using remote learning again this semester, some schools like this one in Seoul’s Seodaemun-gu District have, in principle, even banned outside visitors from entering their campus grounds.”

Perhaps hardest hit are the country’s sophomores, who, after taking just about all their freshman courses online, face another three months of Zoom.

“I’m a sophomore now and it’s a shame the coronavirus is forcing us to have yet another online semester. I’ve been to in-person classes one or two times and they’re much more convenient and easier to follow. Plus, they make it easy to communicate with professors.”

Juniors and seniors, who’ve experienced what pre-COVID-19 classes were like, say there’s a limit to how much online learning platforms can offer.

“The switch to remote learning has made it very difficult for students to participate. To have a say in class. Technical glitches hamper real time communication and overall, it doesn’t really feel like we’re having a conversation.”

On the other hand, some say schools are doing all they can
And online learning does have some advantages.

“And also it’s more flexible so right now I’m about to go run errands but if I was doing classes in person, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

But many undergraduates in Korea are NOT happy they’re paying full tuition with limited access to school resources and facilities.

“What’s disappointing is that the tuition fees remain unchanged. Remote learning’s taking a lot away from the college experience and students are at a loss. It’s a huge problem that hasn’t been fixed.”

The University Tuition Fee Refunds Movement is demanding schools partially return this and last semester’s tuition fees.

“In addition, Korean universities have been excessively piling up accumulated funds. About six.one billion U.S. dollars in total. We demand these funds be used to increase the amount of tuition refunds beyond single digit percentages.”

According to a recent survey of more than 4,100 undergraduates, over 91 percent of students believe tuition refunds are needed.
The top reason given? Remote learning.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.


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