Listening Policy Workshop on How to Resolve the Housing Issues of University Students
Date: May 3, 2012
Venue: Garam Hall, Hongik University
It feels so good to be on campus again. All of the young, healthy students I see here today remind me of the bright and clear weather of May. I am grateful for that. Student councils from three universities, university students, professors who joined the discussion panels, and representatives from the central government, thank you so much for inviting me here.
The cost of accommodations accounts for approximately 50 percent of the expenses paid by university students, and I think that we should seriously consider how to improve such accommodations, as well as the students’ quality of life. In order for our universities to serve their main purpose, it is important that we resolve these issues. Students should have dreams; I consider it a social duty of those who have been granted the opportunity to get an education. However, I am aware of the grim reality that pushes university students to find jobs. Nevertheless, students have the opportunity to effect change in their learning environments and build the foundations for realizing their dreams in diverse ways. This is the issue I would like to talk about today.
Have you heard of the 3 pyeong (10-square-meter) “Mini House” in Sweden? The Mini House is designed with two floors—the second floor is the bedroom while the first floor contains the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. About 100 of these houses have been built, and they can be rented for about KRW 400,000 per month, which is even cheaper than the average of KRW 700,000 in rent paid by our students. I am not saying that the Seoul Metropolitan Government will use this idea, but I would like to stress that we are determined to pursue a solution to the issue of accommodation for university students.
I will continue to speak about and maintain public interest in this issue until the day we finally realize reasonable accommodations for our students.