Opinion Poll: Plan to Abolish Myongji University's Dep. of Go Studies

Hello,

Today I’m writing to you with an urgent matter. Myongji University, which established the first department of Baduk (Go) Studies in 1997, decided to abolish the department in the process of restructuring the university. Even though we had suggested expanding the department to a mind sports department by including chess and bridge, they evaluated the future of our department as low and therefore concluded the abolishment. It would be of great help if you could voice your opinion on the value of our department as the only academic institution that offers a Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. course in Go Studies and thus prepare experts to work in the field of Go in Korea and abroad as Go teachers, Go journalists, broadcasters and tournament players. Among the Go teachers abroad, Yoon Youngsun 8p, Kim Yoonyoung 8p, Diana Koszegi 1p, Hwang Inseong, Lee Semi, Svetlana Shikshina 3p, Oh Chimin, Daniel Chan, Shaun Jiang, and Cindy Lim are former students of our department. Many more have taught Go abroad in the past. If you would like to voice your opinion, there are two options:

  1. (Online Petition) “Don’t abolish the department of Baduk Studies”.
  2. (Opinion Poll) Feel free to write your comments and thoughts in a google form.

We will be happy to forward your voices as a last resource hoping to change Myongji University management’s opinion. The final decision will be made by the middle of December.

Thank you.

Daniela
(on behalf of the Dep. of Baduk Studies)

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iirc @trohde runs an FB group with many dedicated Go players. Maybe sharing it will reinforce this campaign?

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Interesting department. Are there any papers available in English?

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I’m afraid this kind of decision is irrevocable. There are probably some milestones that haven’t been reached and other managerial things that count more than the aspirations and dreams of people.

I am opposed, of course, but I can’t see how it could be reversed.

I haven’t seen their reasons for abolishing the department (are they uploaded anywhere?), but I can tell you mine for being against it:

a) GO is a great example for University studies that are immediately effective professionally. Players, commentators, teachers…Very few degrees can achieve such efficient integration in the workplace world.

b) GO skills are transferable soft skills and this is what businesses are looking for in the recent years. Abolishing a Department that hones professional skills is a very short-sighted move. Especially since these skills have to do with logic, data assessment, reasoning and the ability to handle loss and victory in a civilized manner.

c) GO is not declining, it is getting considerable traction, especially in the West. I would say it is more prominent now than it was in 1997 and that many young adults and children play it or have heard about it.

d) Closing the department in 2024 will have immediate effect for the various GO academies, who may see it futile to continue promoting and teaching GO. The children aspiring to learn GO will have to forget about having a bright future in it. Unemployment rates will go up, because the employees in the GO world may feel insecure about remaining in the sector.

e) GO players are great cultural ambassadors for a country. It wouldn’t be wise to put them aside.

f) Closing the GO Department is not an internal decision of a specific University. Since it is the only GO Department (in the country?), the decision affects the whole of the GO community.

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On the off chance it helps, you can actually support this with “our” (Allerleirauh’s) data

from Unofficial OGS rank histogram (and graphs) 2022 The increasing trend is rather obvious :slight_smile:

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My occupational hazard is that my take on this is: I’m gonna laugh so hard in their faces in a few years when Baduk will unquestionably reach new heights in Korea and they will have to explain why their decision making compass kept pointing to “nope”.

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You can find them in one of the links provided:

“As for the reasons for abolishing the department, Myongji University claims that Baduk is a declining industry because the Korean adult Baduk population decreased from 26% to 23%, and only 19% of the population aged 20-35 plays Baduk. However, the Baduk department faculty believes that a hobby enjoyed by 23% of the population is by no means a declining industry. Furthermore, the Baduk population of children and teenagers has increased compared to the past because 95% of Korean adults believe that learning Baduk is beneficial for children’s development. However, Myongji University discounts these facts and insists that Baduk has no future.”

So, they do not sound like there is some super-important critical numbers failure.
It sounds like neo-managerial pencil-shoving to me where everything has to go up, UP, UP! or be deemed a disaster.
If there is a significant backlash from top to bottom (from players world-wide, to national associations, baduk teachers and content creators and pros) there is a good chance that they will rethink about the whole thing.

Because most people will not look into it - and I was a bit surprised to learn about it when I found about it - I want to point out that while Myongji University is in Korea, it claims that it is set and operating under “Christian values”, so they are using the appropriate buzzwords about ethics, providing education and so forth.
It is worth pointing out that Baduk is a game and field of study that actively punishes greed, envy, anger and recklessness, while it encourages perseverance, patience, self-reflection, self-improvement and how to handle defeat and grow better and stronger through it.

That sounds like something every devout Christian should cherish.
You shouldn’t claim to be founded on some values and then denounce and decry the things that work in sync and in favour of said values. :thinking:

A link to the page of the department of Baduk can be found here, so that we can all have a look on what they do and teach:
https://www.mju.ac.kr/us/3777/subview.do

On a much more general note, we have had quite a few discussions here - and it is a popular topic on every international Go medium of communication - about the problems of spreading and promoting Go. What we all have is love for the game and good intentions, but what we usually lack is the marketing knowledge, the organisational skills and the fundraising to succeed in such promotions.

The existence of such a department means that there is, at least, somewhere, in the world a place were someone can go and attend and formally be educated on those things that Go enthusiasts world-wide lack. We might never get to even visit the place, but I think that it is in the best of interest of every player world-wide that such a department exists and gives the opportunity for Baduk educators and communicators to be taught.

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Heh, thanks, too much of honour for me—I am only one of over a dozen admins in that group :slight_smile:

And Daniela already shared it there also :slight_smile:

… and I signed the petition and also stated my opinion in the poll … I can’t believe that they are closing that institute, when Baduk is such an important part of Korean culture!

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I wonder what department they are trying to promote instead.

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I thought this post would attract more reactions.
It seems strange to me that it is so quiet.
:thinking:

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I don’t know if it qualifies for a banner, it seems like a baduk crisis to me!

(and I also think opinion poll in the title is a bit misleading)

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There are reactions elsewhere: (Opinion Poll) Plan to Abolish the Dep. of Baduk Studies • Life In 19x19

The Department of Baduk Studies is part of the College of Arts and Physical Education. Baduk is not “physical” but it’s a mind sport in which Korea is world leading.

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“If the first time the academy comes down to this forum is to ask for our support to not close it down, that probably proves the decision is right.
Maybe I’ve missed it but the role it could have played in the amateurs’ quest for knowledge is - to my knowledge - non-existent, whether here or on SL or on any forum where Go theory is being discussed.”

Oh.

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You are right. Personally I didn’t react because I hadn’t enough info on it (and not the time to dive into it).

But now I have the time for that :grinning:

Department of Baduk Studies:
https://www.mju.ac.kr/us/3777/subview.do

Mission Statement

  1. To produce Baduk players above 5 dan level
  2. To acquire a deeper knowledge of life from Baduk culture
  3. To develop and educate leaders in the field of Baduk
  4. To teach foreign languages to students who can introduce Baduk culture to the world.

But if I go further into the site I lose interest; it is all rather abstract or in Korean.

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Tbh I went in expecting many more, the number of reactions is comparable to those here.

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His reaction is a bit harsh but on the other hand it the Department of Baduk Studies should have improved its communication, and it might have gained more international support.

(My personal opinion is a bit like gennan’s, I don’t see much impact of that department in my everyday go life but I did sign.)

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I lament every other day about the poor communication of our subpar it-passes-for-a-federation-I-guess, I completely agree that the whole Go community needs better communication skills. I complain often enough in here as well.

But I think they should be allowed to learn from this mistake (that honestly the whole community makes): Go needs nurturing, not only training.

A last minute effort from the community should be encouraged, not withheld as punishment because they basically did what almost everyone does, expect outreach to fall from the sky. :woman_shrugging:t2:

I have a soft spot for education falling under the knife of cold opportunists, maybe because our Ministry of Education is notoriously destructive (and uneducated).

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It’s a bit like “first instances” of applying a law. Once there is one instance in record, there is no going back.

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It’s possible that the university wants to close departments that are less “profitable” (I don’t like that word in this context since education should not be driven by profit, but that’s how it works nowadays). Generally, large departments can attract sponsors more easily, so the size of the Baduk department may be one of its main weaknesses.

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