Date: 17 June 2017
Time: 15:15 - 15:45
Korea's government-lead vocational education has fostered the industrial manpower necessary for economic development. As part of the process of economic development, Korea has become a highly educated society. However, due to the quantitative and qualitative mismatch between labour supply and demand, there has been a shortage of jobs for college graduates and a shortage of high school graduates in the labour market.
In 2008, Korea's Ministry of Education began reforming its vocational high school policy. Vocational schools were upgraded to Meister High Schools and Specialized Vocational High Schools in accordance with the philosophy of 'Work first, College later'. To strengthen the practical skills of students, industrial field practice was expanded in the curriculum, and an apprenticeship system was introduced in 2015. In 2015, 9 of the 497 specialised high schools operated as apprenticeship schools. This increased to 60 schools in 2016 and 198 in 2017.
In the era of Industry 4.0, science and technology and labour markets are rapidly changing and developing. As everyone in the labour marker, not only high school graduates, have to continuously improve and develop their vocational and professional abilities, higher education institutions should become more flexible and open to diverse groups of lifelong learners. Colleges should be organised as lifelong vocational professional educational institutions. It would also be worthwhile to establish and operate a professional college that, like Meister High School, was a model of excellent vocational education.
Dr Jisun Chung is the Head of Division for Research in Lifelong Vocational Education, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (KRIVET). She received a Ph. D. degree from the University of Toronto. Her main research areas are lifelong learning system of higher education, vocational education in the process of industrial development, and human resources development in the aged society. Especially the linkage between labor market and vocational education and training and industry-academia cooperation are emphasised in her research works. She has been working for the Policy Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Personnel Management, South Korea.