Facilities for experiments, which have been used for 10 years, have been left still without being disposed of. Another big problem is that the facilities are not efficient for use, so many students suffer inconveniences while carrying out experiments. Not only students can't find accurate results, but assistant instructors also have difficultly in giving proper instruction. But there is not substantial plans as yet.
Until 2002, the government supported funds for Yeungnam University in three divisions: specialize the university, equip the items for education and support library's items. So, as the fee for purchasing items a billion won and 70 million won were earmarked for the School of Natural Sciences and School of Mathematics and Statistics. Sum up government's budget and the self-funds of each department. The whole funds are managed by department ofManagement and Material. And they purchase the items after considering the written request which is made by each department. From 2003, as a result of the change of the government's education policy, government's fund support was used for only specializing the university. That is because the government stopped the fund except several departments which were related with specializing the university. After stopping the fund support, in 2003, department of budget made up the budget of 700 million won. They earmarked 7,280,000won for items of experiment in the School of Mathematics and Statistics and earmarked 50million won for the same purpose to the School of Natural Sciences. In addition, the school earmarked 50 million won for the Department of Physics for their general class experiments. In 2004 the school budget was 500 million won, of which 50 million won was earmarked for equipment for the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and 19 million won for the same purpose for the School of Natural Sciences. In addition, the university budgeted for 50 million won to go to the Physics Department at this time too. This policy was started for the support for experimental equipment for only some departments. Those departments which are joined in what is called 'the universities areas of specialization' are excepted from this policy.
"Added budget support goes wrong when considering the balance of the whole departmental budget. Therefore, it will be abolished. In addition, the partial special support for experimental equipment will not be automatically continued because, the special support would be adjusted according to the school's financial situation.", said a member of the budget department. From the viewpoint of the school, it seems that special support for specified departments seems difficult to keep up.
Explaining current conditions, Kim Jong-hun, head of the Biology Department says, "Although the government provides supplementary funds, the budget is not adequate. So, we are forced to maintain and repair the original laboratory and other experimental equipment. But these days, that is also difficult", On the other hand, several departments who are part of the 'university specialized areas,' for example, BK and NURI will receive a bigger budget than before. BK was created for the purpose of generating human brain power. In our university, the School of Mechanical Engineering, and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science were chosen. These chosen departments were given about 300,000,000won for experiments. NURI Enterprise was created to improve the quality for education. In our university, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which takes part in 'the Imbedded program', was given 120,000,000won yearly. The School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, which takes part in 'the Display program' was given 170,000,000won every year. The School of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, which takes part in 'New Material Program' was given 100,000,000won every year. 10%-20% of the whole budget is used to purchase items for experiments.
We can see several important facts that explain why the budget shortage occurred. First, there is the fact that the school didn't allow a large budget enough for the sufficient improvement. Since then, the government's support has stopped. In 2003, the entire budget was 50 million won. It was by far the worst budget in comparison to previous years. This year is no exception. The budget is also too low, and so the administration is depending on additional funding. Although it is used for students' classes it is still too little and should be increased.
Second, because of appropriation without consideration of laboratory conditions, the present budget was determining by a complicated formula. At this time, the standard sum of money was the product of the sum of money per each student (about 56,100won) and not the whole number of students in one department. This measurement can be biased towards the School of Engineering, because this department has many more students than the School of Natural Sciences. When you consider laboratory supplies and equipment and the amount of use-time of laboratories per week, the School of Natural Science's use- time is 73hours per week. But they have 10 laboratories at most. It's ratio is 73/10. Comparatively, the ratio for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is 13/14, the School of Textile is 12/16, the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology is 8/29, the School of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering is 18/30, and the ratio for the School of Mechanical Engineering is 9/14. From these result, we can see that the School of Engineering has more laboratories than the School of Natural Sciences. But the School of Engineering's use-time of the laboratories is much lower than that of the School of Natural Sciences.
This is surely an imbalance. Besides, the budget appropriations was originally for the purpose of purchasing experimental items. For example, the School of Mathematics and Statistics doesn't need specific equipment for experiments. They need computers only. They don? need anything else for their experiments. But, the amount equipment is determined by the standard sum of money. The school provides this department with extra money. And, regarding old items, the school is evading its responsibility. Truly, experimental equipments, which had been used for 10 years, were left uncured for. It seems as if the amount of experimental items are higher than their real numerical value. It seems to be a serious problem. The fact that professor? input was not taken into account is the reason for these mistakes in budget allocations. Thirdly, students' indifference to the importance of experimental equipment could also be a problem. Although problems are directly related to their studies, they don't have a proposal to get the laboratories up to date.
To solve this problem, first of all, the school should consider increasing this part of the budget. In particular, the budget should be adjusted upward in favor of the College of Sciences, because this college is in charge of basic experiments. Therefore, universities have to recognize their importance.
Secondly, the formula for appropriation should be changed. For example, since there is a greater degree of usage in the labs of the College of Sciences our school needs to increase that budget. The items for general experiments need to be separated from the amount of funding for the College of Sciences. The amount of class time for experimental classes is much less in the Physics Department than in other departments. Truly, the general physics experimental laboratories are open for 36 hours per week for other departments, compared to only 1 hour per week for the Physics Department. But, the reason that these items belong to the College of Sciences, is due to the fact that the budget decreases pertaining to the College of Sciences seem to be inconsistent. The university should dispose of the 10-year old equipment.
Finally, students need to make proposals for solving these problems to the school because its every students have the right to be taught with the proper, up-to-date equipment and materials.
"After investigating the results at the end of the year we will consider adjusting the budget. But, any additional funding could vanish, depending on the school's economic condition. Therefore, a college must get the money from the government by joining in government projects or the economic situation will be more difficult in the future", said Chun Jong-ryul, the head of the budget department.
"Now, there are only classes in the College of Sciences for general experiments. So, the College of Medicine, the Pharmacy College, and the College of Engineering are all using our laboratories for their classes. Nevertheless, the school invests only the minimum amount of money for our college. It is unfair. For example, in other universities they arrange to upgrade the efficiency of their facilities by hiring an exclusive staff for experiments or providing scholarships etc. Our school considers this important point, especially, the fact that those experimental classes whose frequency of laboratory use are so high, should have improved laboratory conditions by changing old equipment and purchasing new items", said Kim Eun-chan, the head of the College of Sciences.
Now, experimental classes are in a crisis. This is not only a problem for the College of Sciences but also for all the other schools, because it is related to education for the College of Sciences as well as Engineering or Medicine. Therefore, schools, professors and students are all making an effort to solve the problems, and feel that the problems should be rectified as soon as possible.