The Making of Divided Higher Education Systems in Korea: A Comparative Analysis on the Rise of Seoul National University and Kim II Sung University, 1945-1948.

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Kim, Ki-Seok
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서울대학교 교육종합연구원
SNU Journal of Education Research, Vol.15, pp. 1-38
Highef educationSeoul National UnivefsityKim llsung UnivefsitydiVl'sion
Fl'om the pl'esence of Seoul National Univel'sity in Seoul

and Kim l1-Seong Univel'sity in Pyongyang we cleady see

a case of a divided highel' educational system in KOl'ea.

This papel' addl'esses a sel'ies of Questions concel'ning the

educational ol'igins of the divided education system at the

univel'sity level. Recounting both the traditional and

l'evisionist views on the natUfe of socio-political movements

against the Seoul National Univel'sity (hel'eafter, SNU) Plan,

this papel' makes a claim that not the imposition of

Amel'ican impel'ialist intel'vention, but a division within the

val'iety of scholady ol'ganizations among KOl'ean academics

and pmfessol's, who falJed to keep theil' pl'omise of Gl'and

Unity, was conducive to the division. The two univel'sities

wel'e created in Octobel' 1946 within just two weeks of

each othel'. Hal'dly dJffel'ent wel'e the l'ationale and

pl'ocedUfes behind the making of these two "Supl'eme

Univel'sities': MOl'eover, seen fl'om the composition of the

leading faculty membel's of each univel'sity, they were bOl'n as an identical twins.

A bwJt in contradiction concerning university autonomy

was the moving force behind the keen disputes about the

SHU Plan which did not pel'mit any fo,m of

seJl-j;Ovefnment of faculty membefs. A legendary tradition

of self-government among professol's fi,st became the de

facto legitimate practice dUfing the struggle fOf the freedom

of academy in the history of the Japanese Impel'ial

Universities. It was, howevef, maintained to pmtect the

vested interests of professol' pfiVJJege and prestige which

were nevel' shared with othel' pmfessofs in private

universities Of colleges. Newly appointed pmfessofS, who

were mostly graduates of imperial universities and were

membefs of the progressive political parties and leadefs of

vanous scholady ofganizations wanted to inhefit a

pfogfesslve element of univefsity autonomy; while

fefofm-mined bUfeaucfats who wefe gfaduates of Amefican

univefsities and membefs of the fightist political pal'ties

wanted to femove any feactive element of faculty

autonomy which in fact led to the vicious Japanese

tradition of school sectionalism. ContrafY to the claims

made by the fevis.ionists, it was not the movement against

the SNU Plan but the Plan itself that falled. The n'se of

SHU was a compromlse between the two competing

groups. Thl's gfOUp competition facllitated the diVl'sion. Key

membefs of the fOfmef group who wefe opposed to the

SHU Plan went to Pyongyang to actively p3fticipate in the

making of Kim l1-Seong Univefsity and became the

backbone of it Some of the legacies of impefial

univefsities still femain at SNU.
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College of Education (사범대학)Center for Educational Research (교육종합연구원)SNU Journal of Education Research (SJER)SNU Journal of Education Research vol.15 (2006)
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