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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Capacity building and technical assistance in higher education

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in Higher Education
 
Before Korea’s liberation, access to higher education remained largely limited. Imperial University, which would eventually be reorganized into SNU, was established by the Japanese. Enrollment at Imperial University during Japanese rule was very selective and limited to a small percentage of Koreans.30 After Korea’s liberation, a number of national and provincial universities and colleges were established. Most of the increase came from the rapid growth of private, degree-granting colleges. By 1952, the number of higher learning institutions totaled 42 and the number of student enrollment totaled 33,542 (3,958 women).3131 Despite the expansion of higher learning, Korea’s university system was in need of urgent reform to improve the quality rather than quantity of education. Moreover, Korea suffered a huge deficit in the number of skilled workers and technicians after the departure of the Japanese which held most to the skilled jobs during their occupation. As such, top priority was put on upgrading Korean higher education and research, and secondary and vocational education to support Korea’s economic development.
 
To build up Korea’s technical capacity, considerable amount of financial and technical assistance went into upgrading Korean secondary and vocational education as well as in institutions of higher learning. A good deal of technical assistance was carried out through US technical cooperation programs under “university contracts” which enlisted the participation of US universities and technical institutions to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and skills. The basic objectives of the technical cooperation program were: expansion of education in fields of engineering, medicine, agriculture, and public or business administration; support of specific services or industries, expansion of research, and training of technical manpower. During 1955-59, a total of 1,421 Koreans studied in the US.
 
In Korea, the Minnesota Program provided technical and material assistance to SNU during 1954 to 1961, for the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, and Medicine of Seoul National University. Later on, technical cooperation was expanded to include the fields of nursing, veterinary, and public administration. Under the ICA-University of Minnesota (U of M), Korean instructors and administrators studied and observed at the U of M. A total of 226 SNU instructors (77 from the College of Medicine) studies in the US at U of M. Also, a total of 59 US experts and advisors (11 advisors for SNU College of Medicine) were dispatched to SNU to act as in-house consultants, to provide assistance the implementation of new systems and methods adopted by Koreans, under the banner of “assist and not displace.” Material assistance was provided to rehabilitate and improve facilities and to provision new equipment.

One particular program under the Minnesota Program focused on the modernization of Korea’s medical education system, a leftover of Japanese colonial rule, to improve the standards of medical training and healthcare. Under the program, war-damaged medical facilities were repaired; new facilities for training healthcare providers were built including nursing and public health schools; and modern medical equipment, systems and practices were introduced at SNU medical college. But more importantly, this program assisted in the training of professors at the SNU medical college.
 
In 1960, U of M was one of 53 US colleges that participated in the ICA program, which totaled nearly US$ 100 million, with 96 contracts covering 33 countries. To maximize the effectiveness of the program, countries and universities were matched based on various criteria that best suited their conditions. The University benefited from the program which increased the school (Chu, Keun-Won Chu, 80 years of Not Looking Back, 1998, 96p, Lee, Wang-Joon, 2006, p37, recited).
 
[Table 1-1] Technical Cooperation through US Universities
 
 
  US colleges that provided technical assistance
India Columbia, Berea, Illinois, Kansas State, Missouri State, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Pakistan Colorado, Indiana, Southern California, Texas A&M, Washington State
Korea George Peabody, Minnesota, Washington State, Indiana, Syracuse, Oregon
Indonesia California, Indiana, Kentucky
Japan Massachusetts, Michigan State
Vietnam Georgi, Wyoming
Afghanistan Columbia, Wyoming
China Michigan State, Purdue
Philippines New York State
Srilanka Texas A&M
Thailand Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana
Cambodia Georgi
Iran Brigham Young, Southern California, New York State, Utah State
Turkey Columbia, Georgetown, Nebraska, Spring Garden Institute
Morocco Delado Trade-Tech Institute
Tunisia Delado Trade-Tech Institute
Liberia Cornell, Prairie View A&M
Nigeria Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio, Western Michigan
  US colleges that provided technical assistance
Ethiopia Oklahoma State
Kenya Earham
Rodesia Delado Trade-Tech Institute
Uganda Delado Trade-Tech Institute
Guatemala Kentucky
Costarika Lousiana State
Columbia Tulant
Panama Tennessee
Ecuador Mouston
Peru North Carolina State
Chile Chicago, Cornell, Pittsburgh, Lelond, Stanford
Paraguay Bullalo, Montana Michigan State, Purdue, Southern California
Brazil Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Southern California
Austria New York University
Source: ICA. ICA, Technical Cooperation through American Countries, ICA Office of Public Reports, Washington DC 1956. Recited from Lee (2006, p400)
 
30 Yonsei University, or formerly known as Chosen Christian University, is considered as the oldest established   university in Korea. It was established by early missionaries.
31 A report on Korea’s higher education prepared in 1959 estimated that Korea had about 56 colleges and universities of varying degree located across the country with 88,000 students.

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