Can there be more suicides in KAIST?
KAIST students have experienced few of the events which are key issues in the actual ongoing debates at KAIST. Students come and graduate but usually the same professors stay for long time. Hence, the actual students at KAIST are less informed than professors about what really takes place.
Consequently, we sometimes just keep ourselves quiet when we are asked to participate in different surveys, or else we consider the information as it is given to us.
Recently, a survey was conducted on students’ thoughts about the resignation of President Suh Nam-pyo. When you look at the highlights in the media, they mention that he should resign because his academic policies are the main cause of the suicide cases in KAIST. However, if the KAIST policies, especially the English-only lectures, were the problem, international students would in fact be the first at risk.
The admission criteria concerning English are similar and only few if any of the international students have English as their first language and they are facing even more challenges as they are living in a foreign country.
The GPA limit for the tuition fees exemption is also usually mentioned as a main cause. But as far as I know, most of students admitted by KAIST are among the 20 percent of top students in high school. It is less likely that they expect such a university, to be the one with the easiest academic life.
They already know that they are joining “the delivery school for Noble prize winners,” where they will be competing with other smart students. It is of course hard to accept a failure once one has been always successful. But, if even we don’t learn from KAIST that in life we are not always successful, we will learn it in real life and it will be much harder.
Yes, KAIST has to find better policies to provide a happier life for students but it necessary to look at the suicide issues not as a KAIST problem but that of the whole Korean society. According to official reports, the rate of suicide has recently doubled in Korea. The reason of that may be the same reason why a Korean KAIST student kills him or herself but not a foreign student.
Overall, I fail to see any president’s fault about that so that his resignation should be the solution. There may be some reasonable arguments for his resignation that are out of many students’ experience at KAIST. But, when they start adding unreasonable reasons, even those ones we didn’t experience become questionable.
student, Electrical Engineering Department, KAIST