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Ewha axes disputed career college plans

Ewha Womans University caved in to the seventh consecutive day of student protests Wednesday, announcing it would scrap its plans for the disputed lifelong education college.

The school convened an emergency meeting Wednesday morning and decided to call off the government-sponsored project Future LiFE College, which aimed to provide higher education to working women. 

Ewha Womans University dean Choi Kyung-hee visits the student protest at the campus on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Ewha Womans University dean Choi Kyung-hee visits the student protest at the campus on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

University dean Choi Kyung-hee visited the student protest at the school main building to seek the disbandment of the gathering by 6 p.m. Choi, however, left after 10 minutes of waiting as the two sides failed to agree on holding the talks.

The students insisted they would “continue to fight until the Ministry of Education confirms the facts” on Ewha’s official withdrawal of its plan.

Ten schools were selected by the Ministry of Education through the schools’ voluntary application for the building of new colleges for continuing education.

Ewha Womans University was the only school met with fierce protest from students.

The Ewha students’ opposition prompted criticism that the students were thinking only of themselves, seeking to protect their vested interests.

The students have accused the school of trying “to sell diplomas” for programs that already exist in the current curriculum, without due consensus from the faculty or students.

On Tuesday, some Ewha graduates joined the protest and staged a public show of renouncing and returning their graduation certificates to the school.

Later in the day, the Ministry of Education accepted the university’s official request to withdraw from the program. Still, students continued their protest, requesting a promise from the university there would be no ill repercussions against students participating in the protest or the professors who supported them.

No other school will fill the vacancy left by Ewha due to time frame restrictions.

The lifelong education college, proposed and sponsored by the Education Ministry, plans to award certificates to adults over 30 years old or graduates of career-centered high schools who have worked for more than three years.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (