By Kang Shin-who
Seoul National University (SNU) and other Seoul-based universities are considering scrapping plans to create satellite campuses in Sejong City in South Chungcheong Province as the government is moving to abandon the creation of a science and education complex there.
The Lee Myung-bak administration had been seeking to alter the original plan of building an administrative town on the site to one constructing a self-sufficient business and science city instead.
But the revised bills on the business and science city were voted down by a National Assembly committee last week because many lawmakers of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) and opposition parties were against the change.
Cheong Wa Dae has recently said it will not insist on a “science belt” in Sejong City if the original plan is pushed.
Following the government’s announcement to set up the business and science complex early last year, SNU formed a special task force to outline locating potential research facilities there. Korea University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) had also been planning to open new campuses there.
However, the schools have decided to halt such projects should the revised bills pursuing the international business and science belt be voted down by lawmakers, according to sources close to the matter Sunday.
“The original plan does not ensure government subsidies for university campuses. Consequently, there is no merit for our school to move there,” an SNU official said.
“If the revised bills are voted down at the National Assembly, the planned construction of research facilities and technology centers will be scrapped.”
Korea University has also become pessimistic. Earlier, the university said it would invest 600 billion won to purchase one square kilometer of land and build post-graduate schools in bio-and green energy technology as well as dental studies.
Under the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration, the National Assembly passed bills to build an administrative town in Yeongi-Gongju, South Chungcheong Province. The town was later designated as Sejong, after the fourth king of the Joseon Kingdom.
In order to lure big companies and universities to the city, the Lee administration had proposed a range of tax benefits and financial subsidies for incoming institutions and other businesses, which will probably be scrapped.