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Opening of University of Aberdeen's S. Korean campus likely to fizzle out

All Headlines 15:52 December 05, 2017

HADONG, South Korea, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- A plan to open an international branch of Scotland's University of Aberdeen in South Korea is highly likely to fall through, as the university has been reluctant to proceed with the project, local officials said Tuesday.

Since 2013, the Scottish school has been working on the plan with the South Korean municipalities of South Gyeongsang and Hadong to establish the University of Aberdeen Korea Campus in the southeastern town of Hadong in South Gyeongsang Province.

The South Gyeongsang government said in August that the branch would open in March next year after its opening was postponed twice, citing difficulty in recruiting students for the branch school and the different start of academic years in the two countries.

But the branch school has yet to form a faculty or submit a report on its purchase of facilities to the South Korean education authorities in the run-up to its opening.

Aberdeen is demanding that the South Korean municipalities provide it with 4 billion won (around US$3.70 million) to help it make up for initial losses in the first 10 years of its operation, a sticking point in the implementation of the plan.

It also wants to set up a course in dismantling engineering rather than one in petroleum engineering, which it had agreed to launch with the South Korean side.

In November, the Hadong municipality sent Aberdeen a letter saying it would file a lawsuit against the Scottish school to recover its investment if the campus does not open in March.

In preparation for the school opening, Hadong has finished the construction of a dormitory for campus professors and students on a site of 3,690 square meters. A total of about 10 billion won has been injected into the project, the officials said.

This undated file photo shows the site of the campus of Scotland's University of Aberdeen in Hadong, a town in South Korea's southern province of South Gyeongsang. (Yonhap)

A delegation from the municipality will make a visit to Aberdeen this month for final talks with the school to resolve the issue.

The planned establishment of the branch school followed the clinching of a memorandum of understanding in 2013 between Aberdeen and the South Gyeongsang provincial government to open the campus as part of the local government's efforts to nourish personnel in offshore oil and gas and make it a center of expertise in offshore engineering.

Aberdeen, which specializes in teaching engineering subjects related to the offshore oil and gas industries, had originally set its sights on opening its South Korean campus in September last year, but it was delayed due to financial and other outstanding issues.

In August last year when the South Korean education ministry gave the green light to the branch's opening, Aberdeen was allowed to open courses in three subjects -- petroleum engineering, subsea engineering, and oil and gas topside engineering.

namsh@yna.co.kr

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