South Korea Powers Ahead With Globalization Plans

South Korea is making a bold claim to be the Mecca for college learning for students from Asia and around the world in the next few decades. They are devoting $600 million dollars over the next five years to a “World Class University Project” which features 9 Nobel prize winners who are moving to South Korea as faculty. Their “Brain Korea 21” project is designed to define “centers for excellence in information, technology, bioengineering and other knowledge-based fields.”

For this model to succeed, policy makers will need to work closely with educators at the high school and college level to learn first-hand about both opportunities and challenges. Opponents of this movement say that the current college structures are “hierarchical” systems which block creativity and innovation. Sounds like some of the same concerns about big, failing companies in America Jim Collins featured in his new book, WHY THE MIGHTY FALL.

One thing is for sure: for higher education to succeed and flourish in any country by setting a new standard for quality work, strong critical thinking skills, workplace know-how and lifelong success, many will have to rethink the staid and inflexible methods of old. Students today need to be challenged and so do faculty. That means learning new skills, understanding the value of social networking and and the new options which technology affords through project-based learning and collaboration.

Chronicle of Higer Education
Seoul, South Korea

For government officials here, it’s a vision worth savoring: Within the next decade, South Korea becomes Southeast Asia’s top higher-education destination, poaching thousands of Chinese, Indian, and Japanese students from American universities and overtaking rivals Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The higher-education system’s historical insularity fades away. A handful of South Korean universities climb into the premier global academic league. Local students elect to stay at home to attend a branch campus of an American college.

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