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“We will keep an eye on science and engineering policies”

작성자 : KAIST 등록일 : 2016-05-13 조회수 : 4238

Behind the scenes of the Student Forum on the 20th General Election
[Interview] Hyejeong Han, Director of Social Participation, hopes to garner interest in science and engineering policies
Discussions held on the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Act and human rights

“Good job, everyone. We must continue to take an interest in science and engineering policies.”  

 

On April 2, the Science and Engineering Student Forum on 20th General Election Policies was held at KAIST. With university students and policymakers engaging in discussions on science and engineering policies, the forum held great significance for students and alumni. One researcher applauded the audience at the end of the discussions, and the faculty and staff were proud of students for organizing such a meaningful event.

 

The forum was co-organized by the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council and 11 undergraduate and graduate student associations throughout Korea.


The four major themes were ▲ the significance of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Act for students, ▲views of employed graduate students, and ▲the need for an on-campus human rights center. The major party candidates attending the event were Miok Mun of the Minjoo Party, Yonghyun Shin of the People’s Party, Seongwu Lee of the Justice Party, and Myeonghee Cho of the Saenuri Party. The forum attracted a crowd of 80 university staff and students.

 

Hyejung Han, the director of social participation of the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council, introduced the council’s preparations for the forum and future plans. She said, “We learned a great deal from organizing an event that involves policymakers. I realized that scientists and engineers lack a political presence, and will continue to keep an eye on related policies.”

“We will keep an eye on science and engineering policies” 이미지1 

◆ Policymakers invited by KAIST Undergraduate Student Council 

The forum was planned and organized by the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council.
Han said, ”We came up with the idea last fall to hold a forum just before the 2016 general elections.”


When the Collegian/Youth Joint Action Network suggested organizing a regional forum, the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council decided to focus on science and engineering policies and gathered the support of student associations at various universities. The students took the initiative, while the university only provided the venue and sound equipment.


The forum was prepared by roughly six students, including Hang Park, the president of the KAIST Undergraduate Student Council, and Han, the director of social participation. It was not easy to arrange offline meetings with other universities, but other means of communication were utilized to determine the theme and format of the forum. The participating universities promoted the event via posters and online channels.


The students were 100% responsible for inviting policymakers. They selected policymakers directly related to science and technology and submitted proposals to each party. Han said, “It was not easy to get in touch with the candidates. Even one day before printing the posters, we were unsure who would be participating.”


The podcasters of “Guys Reading Science and Tech Policies,” a channel run by the KAIST Graduate Students Association and students enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, emceed the event.


◆ Students interested in Korea Institute of Science and Technology Act and human rights “The forum took place in a serious atmosphere, but the students were filled with a youthful energy.”


According to Han, the students attending the forum were vibrant and energetic. Questions were submitted via written notes, and the response was overwhelming. Many other students watched the event online, which was broadcast live on YouTube.


Han cited the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Act and human rights as the primary issues.


The Higher Education Act and Private School Act contain provisions that lend support to the voice of students. However, such provisions cannot be found in the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Act. Han said, “Under this Act, the institute is not required to consider the opinions of students, and institutional rules are subject to change depending on the president. The students hope for the Act to be modified so that their voices can be better heard.”


The major party candidates attending the forum expressed support. Han went on, “This agenda has already been rejected twice. Even if it is passed, its actual implementation will require the undivided attention of students.”   


Another major issue among graduate students was the establishment of an on-campus human rights center. The major party candidates wished to open human rights centers by administrative district, whereas the students wanted a center on each campus. 


Han said, “I felt goosebumps during the Q&A. When one of the major party candidates gave an ambiguous answer, the emcee demanded more details, saying that the students were looking for something beyond what would come up in a Google search.”

“We will keep an eye on science and engineering policies” 이미지2 

◆ Discussions to be transcribed for viewing by students


Some had raised concerns over the forum due to its focus on political issues. However, such concerns were alleviated thanks to the healthy participation of students. The graduate students felt that the forum was a good experience and added their own thoughts on each candidate. Han is transcribing the three-hour forum, together with the Q&A session, for viewing by the student body. “I plan to post it on the school bulletin board in May for those who were unable to attend in person.” 


The forum may be over, but Han is committed to building interest in science and technology policies. She said, “I will continue to keep an eye on science and technology policies until the end of my term. I hope that the policies will have practical value, and not simply focus on short-term achievements. This will be possible only if the students pay closer attention and stand up for their rights.”


Han has plans for the Division of Social Participation to play a more active role in social issues. “We will organize an event supporting the rights of the disabled, and reflect students’ opinions in the next student council election.”


The forum was especially useful for Han, who is preparing to enter the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy. “It was my pleasure to be involved in the process. I hope for younger students to continue organizing the forum each year.”


The KAIST Undergraduate Student Council highly values “the efforts of staff behind the scenes.” For this reason, Park recommended Han, the director of social participation, as the interviewee. Park, who took charge of overall planning of the forum, said, “I wanted to organize an event that would provide opportunities for science and engineering students to share their problems. I’m very happy that this forum turned out to be a success.”

“We will keep an eye on science and engineering policies” 이미지3

※List of participating organizations  

 

-Student Co-organizers: KAIST Undergraduate Student Council, KAIST Graduate Students Association, POSTECH Student Association, POSTECH Graduate Student Association, UNIST Student Union, Konkuk University Graduate Student Association, Korea University Graduate Student Association, Dongguk University Graduate Student Association, Sogang University Graduate Student Association, ChungAng University Graduate Student Association, Hanyang University Graduate Student Association

 

-Other Co-organizers: Collegian/Youth Joint Action Network, HelloDD 

  

 

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