Only 28 Korean universities ranked on this year's list of Asia's top universities by Quacquarelli Symonds and the Chosun Ilbo, down from 49 last year. And the ranking of 25 of the 28 dropped, largely due to low scores in the field of academic reputation and the numbers of international faculty and students.
The government invested W771.9 billion between 2008 and last year to invite world-class foreign academics to the country (US$1=W1,022).
Possible reasons why that is not working include unattractive conditions for foreigners. In most universities here, foreign faculty find it hard to communicate and fully dedicate themselves to their research due to lack of support from the universities.
Compared to their counterparts in Singapore and Hong Kong, Korean universities not only lag behind in efforts to hire competent foreign faculty but fail to offer them enough support in adapting to life here.
Korean universities with a higher proportion of foreign faculty include Dongseo University, Handong University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Seoul National University and Suwon University.
Korean universities succeed in quantitative areas like increasing the number of exchange students but have a long way to go in terms of quality.
One professor said universities need to create the climate for academics of diverse nationality to gather together and do joint research.