Low birth rate forces universities to consider closure

A number of South Korean universities are on the verge of closing down because the country’s low birth rate is affecting their enrolments, sparking fears that this could impact negatively on the local economy and hurt residents most, writes Kim Hyun-bin for The Korea Times.

The low birth rate generation began in 2002 with total number of newborns for that year recording 490,000, dipping below the 500,000 mark for the first time. South Korea hit its new record low of 357,700 in 2017, down 11.9% from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea. It's the lowest number since the statistical agency started to compile data in 1970.

According to research conducted by Cho Young-tae, a professor of health demography at Seoul National University, there are 138 colleges and 189 universities currently operating in the country as of last year. However, due to the drastic decrease in the country's birth rate, 43 colleges in 2022 and 73 four-year universities by 2024 will no longer be needed. “The reduction of student enrolment is becoming a threat to universities and colleges. The institutions are more aware of their situations and are asking for aid,” said an official at the Ministry of Education.
Full report on The Korea Times site