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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Social Infrastructure

Capacity building and technical assistance in education

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in Education
 
But the outbreak of the Korean War disrupted the progress made on rebuilding Korea’s education system. The tragedy of the war resulted in the destruction of schools and classrooms, and loss of life among many teachers who had either been killed or disappeared. After the Korean War, the education system was severely damaged, resulting in a classroom shortage. Dodge (1971) writes: “Of the 42,478 classrooms that existed before the Korean War, 10,018 were totally destroyed, 4,976 were half destroyed, and an additional 13,971 were damaged.” In other words, the nation lost the use of 70% of its classrooms. Once reconstructions efforts were restarted, the assistance focused on providing material aid at the primary and secondary level, as well as increasing investments in higher education. In early 1952, the head representative of UNESCO recommended that financial assistance be used in education after making an assessment during a visit to Korea. As such, UNESCO and UNKRA developed a five-year program for the development of Korea’s education system that provided nearly US$ 11 million dollars in education assistance under UNKRA, most of which was used to repair schools destroyed during the Korean War as seen below.

[Table 1-1] Aid to Education Sector by UNKRA: 1950-59

 (Unit: $ Thousand) 
 
  Facilities Technical Total
Building class rooms 5,407 - 5,407 (50%)
Secondary education 1,262 142 1,404 (13%)
Higher education 2,195 325 2,502 (23%)
Teacher training 100 279 379 (3%)
Social education (including adult education) 287 114 401 (4%)
Textbook printing factory 514 - 514 (5%)
Foreign language private institute - 164 164 (2%)
Others - - 92 (1%)
Total 9,845 1,036 10,881 (100%)
Source: Lee, Wang-Joon (2006, p395), The Influence of Minnesota Project on the Korean Medical Education.
 
Under the ICA, a considerable amount of US assistance was invested in human capital development especially in higher education. A sizeable amount of US assistance went into “technical cooperation assistance activities” to build capacity in higher education but also technical and vocational training in general.28 A total of US20 million dollars was invested to train new teachers and professors as seen in table below. Assistance was also provided for materials and equipments for secondary level education, most of which went to improving vocational education facilities. The assistance included organizations of two vocational teacher training departments at SNU, the training teachers outside of Korea, and development to high schools.
 
 
28 Refer to “Case Study of Technical Cooperation: Minnesota Project” by Joon-Kyung Kim and K.S Kim (2011b).

Source: Kim, Jun-Kyung and Kim, KS. 2012. Impact of foreign aid on Korea's development. Seoul: KDI School of Public Policy and Management.