firmly in place has been confirmed through an abundance of historical evidence.
The Future Path of University Education 
The evaluation results of worldwide universities released in THES (The Times Higher Education Supplement), a United Kingdoms magazine of specializing in higher education, included 31 universities of the US among the world's top 100 universities. However, according to a recent analysis data from Newsweek, the number increased to 44. Of course, there can be refutation raised against the weighted values used as the bases of these evaluations. Weighted values include factors such as papers written by professors, professor-to-student ratio, assessment of graduates by employers, degree of globalization the level of book collections in libraries, etc. We must not focus on attacking the basis of such evaluations went through objective review by several experts in the field. Instead, we should focus on the results. These data display the prominent superiority of US universities. What would such superiority be attributable to? Together with this, another question comes to mind as to what are the things we need to learn from the US universities in order to achieve educational improvement in Korea.
Efforts made by the Europeans to solve the problem of their own universities falling behind those of the US should serve as a good example to us. Specifically, we should focus on a report titled "The Future of European Universities, Renaissance or Decay?" published by R. Lambert from CBI (Confederation of British Industries) and N. Butler from Petroleum Strategy Planning. This report points out how European universities that used to be amongst the greatest in the world have become weakened due to the faults made by their governments. In fact, The University of Heidelberg in Germany, the foremost university in Europe, was ranked 45th in THES and 90th in Newsweek. Furthermore, only two German universities were ranked in the top 100 for THES and only three for Newsweek. Even so, Germany is superior to Korea as there is not a single Korean university in the list of Newsweek and only Seoul National University ranked 93rd in THES. In striking contrast, of the top 100 universities, 31 in THES and 44 in Newsweek were US universities. Lambert and Butler pointed out where European universities have faltered.
Firstly, the investment in research is too little. Secondly, even the small amount of investment made is being divided among too many schools. Thirdly, only the number of students was increased while that of professors was not. Fourthly, sufficient autonomy was not given to the universities. In addition to these criticisms, Lambert and Butler recommend extensively distributing resources to upper-ranking universities and to provide need-based financial support to outstanding students as is currently done by the US universities.
Their reports are not just applicable to European countries. This report also reveals our own faults. The suggestions of these reports are to make greater investments in education, to achieve autonomy in education, and to activate market functions. In fact, autonomy and activated market functions will lead to the enhanced quality of university education. Students and schools will competitively meet against each other in the market of education and their interaction will improve the quality of education.
Schools, by considering their facilities and capacities, will endeavor to select good students within their prescribed quota for the best education of the students. Tuition will also be autonomously decided by schools. Schools will be able to invite outstanding students by competitively handing out scholarships. From the students' perspective, they will be able to choose the school that suits their interest and financial capacities. At first, this method of approach may cause shock and confusion. However, over time, this system will be stabilized and schools will be standardized. Even if schools do not achieve standardization and become graded, the quality level of Korean universities will increase accordingly.
The anticipation for increased quality in university education of Korea after establishment of such changes will be realized not by the policies of the Ministry of Education, but by the hopes of students and their parents who desire better education. A greater quality of education is more earnestly desired by students and parents than by scholars or educational bureaucracy. Their power will be manifested as the power to purchase educational service and this will, in turn, increase the quality standard of education.
This system can be associated with a problem where, in the case of a superior university charging expensive tuition, students will not be able to enter the university due to lack of funds or insufficient academic grades. However, in a revised system this would not be a serious problem because students with outstanding grades, despite the lack of financial abilities, can enter the university by obtaining scholarship. We often encounter group actions against the increase of tuitions. However, when the tuition of a superior university is expensive, students can still have the choice to study in a school with cheaper tuition although the quality of education may be a little bit lower. Some may rebut this approach by saying that "this method is not desirable because it commercializes the sacred nature of education to make schools a mere market of education". However, it is the fact that we are paying money to study. In fact, education certainly is a form of service. It is a product of intangible form, which is different from tangible goods.
On the other hand, some will object to the grading of schools on the basis that the "opportunity of education must be provided to all students equally". However, equality does not always lead to creating a good society. A true society is one where people of different features, heights, talents and levels of diligence live by achieving and trying to achieve certain things with good fortune or adverse fortune. The important thing is not to provide an equal level of education, but rather to provide an equal opportunity to access the better institutions. Schools should not be an assembly line that manufactures the same products.
Recognizing this, we must not repeat the mistakes made by Europe, as pointed out by their own experts, and must rather endeavor to follow the examples of success in the US universities, such as autonomy, large investment, acknowledgment school ranking, extensive support for distinguished schools, autonomous decision for tuition, support for outstanding students through financial resources, the acquisition of competent professors, etc. Based on the failure of Europe and success in the US, it is clear which path we must choose for our own future. For education, the foundation stone of national advancement, we must minimize trials and errors and select the path of success, not that of failure.
Lee Gyeong-won (Professor, Dept. of International Studies)