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Korean Journal of General Education 2007;1(1):209-232.
Published online June 30, 2007.
History and instruction of cultural education of korean university
Jong Chul Choi
한국 대학 교양교육의 역사와 교훈
This paper deals with the histoiy of the Faculty of Liberal Arts Education in Seoul National University(abbreviated SNU) in the period of 1970s(1968-1974) and tries to get some lessons from it. As a preliminaiy study of liberal arts education in Korea, we summarize that it began as a preliminaiy course of Seoul Imperial University in 1924(in the period of Japanese occupation) in Korea, differently from the case of Japan, where the liberal arts education had been taught in high school (as an old-european-system before 1945). The liberal arts education both in Korea and in Japan had an elitist orientation(sponsored mobility) in spite of some differences in each case. The Liberation in 1945 in Korea made the remarkable change in liberal arts education of SNU. Since then, it has undergone the fluctuation between the separated system in each faculty and the integrated system in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or other of SNU. As for the establishment of the Faculty of Liberal Arts education in 1968, it was well supported by the government, first of all, for the political reason why student power could be more easily controlled in a remoted campus in a suburbs of Seoul. In addition, the strong will of the president of SNU at that period, to develop the liberal arts education proved effectual. The main substance of academic administration of this faculty was as follows: in 1968, the freshmen of the faculty of law, faculty of economics, faculty of arts and sciences and faculty of engineering were sent to the Faculty of Liberal Arts Education, established in the campus of the Faculty of Engineering. The freshmen of the other faculties were taught in their own campuses separated in Seoul and Gyeonggi province. Until the year of 1971, the period of the liberal arts education was extended to 2 years and the number of students in this faculty was increased to 2,600. However, since 1972 when the integrated campus plan of SNU got into its stride and the other faculty began to gather in this area of the Faculty of Engineering, the number of students of this faculty lessened. At last in 1974, this faculty was abolished as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences had been revised by regrouping the disciplines into 3 faculties(faculty of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences). Concerning the composition of faculty, this faculty was big enough to enumerate the 133 personnels, including 64 tenured professors. That means this faculty was self-sufficient. The dean of this faculty had been working for the same post for 7 years without interruption. I think almost of Korean universities nowadays can learn a lesson from the experiences of this faculty as follows. First of all, any kind of leading organization for the liberal arts education is needed to coordinate the contents and systems, in which many Korean universities are lacking even nowadays. Secondly, the chief of this faculty should be an expert mandated long enough in order to manage his(or her) experiences and wisdom, with the relative autonomy from the presidency of university or some government officials. Thirdly, the classes of the liberal arts education might well be located in the main campus equipped with faculty of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, in order to mobilize good teachers of various disciplines. In addition, the enough quantity of books about the liberal arts and the space of library reserved for the student should be maintained. Fourthly, the composition of faculty might well be various, differently from ordinary faculty composed usually homogeneous members. It can include not only well-experienced professors but also young teachers according to the characteristics of each class. Lastly, for the good connection of liberal arts education in high school and that of university, the students choices in the curriculum should be extended.


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