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Social Infrastructure

Education assistance in Korea

Education Assistance in Korea
 
Between 1945, when Korea had gained independence from Japanese colonialism, and 1999, Korea received official development assistance totaling USD 3.67 billion, USD 1.251 billion (3.4 percent) of which went toward education. Concessional loans (with general exemptions (GE) at 25 percent or greater) made up USD 5.527 billion of the total amount of ODA Korea received, USD 340 million (6.15 percent) of which was spent on education.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, the amount of ODA that Korea received for education amounted to a mere USD 15 million or so, or 1.2 percent of the total amount of education ODA that Korea received until the 1990s. The remaining 98.8 percent of education ODA was provided in the subsequent three decades. Interestingly, almost half of the ODA for education (47.74 percent) came in during the 1980s, whereas almost half of the total amount of ODA that Korea ever received (49.23 percent) was concentrated in the 1990s. In other words, Korea sought out and received ODA for education ahead of other social projects and concerns.
 
<Table 2> Proportion of Education ODA
(Unit: USD 1,000)
 

  1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s Total
ODA with GE 25% or greater Education (A) 0 15,004 31,897 277,201 16,024 340,126
Rest (B) 3,491 642,653 2,211,173 2,060,789 609,380 5,527,486
(A)/(B) 0% 2.3% 1.4% 13.5% 2.6% 6.15%
ODA with GE 25% or greater Education (A) 0 0 238,905 320,334 352,398 911,637
Rest 0 125,204 5,578,050 7,873,880 17,468,436 311,195,570
(A)/(B) 0.00% 0.00% 4.17% 4.07% 2.02% 2.92%
Total ODA Education (A) 0 15,004 270,8052 597,535 368,422 1,251,763
Rest (B) 3,491 767,857 7,939,223 9,934,669 18,077,816 36,723,056
(A)/(B) 0% 1.95% 3,41% 6.01% 2.04% 3.4%

Source: Excerpted from KOICA, 2004.
 
<Table 3> Yearly Distribution of ODA
(Unit: %)
 

  1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s Total
Education 0.00 1.20 21.63 47.74 27.43 100.00
Total 0.01 2.09 21.62 27.05 49.23 100.00

Source: KOICA, 2004.
 
Of the USD 1.252 billion that Korea received for education, 92 percent (USD 1.151 billion) was in the form of education loans. Between 1969 and 1999, Korea took out 12 such loans from the World Bank; six from Japan; two from the Asian Development Bank (ADB); one from the United States; and one from the United Kingdom, for 22 education and training programs in total. Though the loans may amount to USD 1.151 billion, the actual total cost of these programs reached USD 2.243 billion (Attachment 1). The loans, in other words, made up slightly more than one half (51.63 percent) of the financial resources needed for Korea’s educational development projects.
 
(Unit: USD 1,000,000)
Sources: UNESCO Statistical Yearbooks and Park Eunwoo (2000).
<Figure 1> Proportion of Education Loans in Total Educational Development Cost (%)
 
Education was also a major item of spending on the Korean government’s expenditure list. From 1980 to 1985, education loans made up 35 to 45 percent of the total public education cost in Korea. While education loans continued to be a major part of public education funding in Korea in the 1990s (Table 2), their relative proportion rather declined due to the dramatic overall increase in public education spending.

Source: Lee, Kye Woo and  Min, Yujuana. 2010. The Korean aid policy for the educational sector: Future direction. International and regioonal research 19(1). Seoul National University.