콘텐츠 바로가기
로그인
컨텐츠

Category Open

Development Overview

tutorial

Overview of Korea’s development experience

home

Development Overview
Official Aid Social Infrastructure

Print

Social Infrastructure

Technical assistance for vocational training from Germany

1. Background
 
The start of the decades of development in Korea and with them the Korean government’s ambitious economic development plans saw demand for skilled technicians and workers soar nationwide. The Second Five-Year Economic Development Plan estimated that 242,000 skilled technical human resources would be needed to complete its projects, and that additional resources would be required for the vocational training of 120,000 among them. Expanding technical and vocational training facilities nationwide became ever more urgent by the Third Plan, carried out between 1972 and 1976, which required an even greater number of skilled workers.

As part of pursuing its Second Plan announced in 1965, the Korean government invited Edgar C. McVoy, a human resource development specialist from the United States, to investigate the state of human resource development in Korea. In his report McVoy, seeing that Korean at the time had not much in the way of vocational training aside from vocational high schools, emphasized the need for establishing an efficient national vocational training system in Korea and for increasing the national capacity in the country for implementing such a system.[1] Korean policymakers accepted this assessment and set out to develop and implement new vocational training methods and facilities.

The only modern vocational training institute in Korea at the time was the Central Vocational Training Institute (CVTI), created by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with technical assistance from the International Labor Organization (ILO). Finding itself in great need for more international aid, the Korean government began to seek greater cooperation with Germany in the mid-1960s, beginning with the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany Regarding Technical Cooperation, signed in 1966.[2] The agreement led to the establishment of the Busan Vocational Training Institute (BVTI, currently the East Busan Campus of Korea Polytechnic VII), with Germany’s help, from 1970 to 1975. It also engendered other subsequent projects of technical cooperation throughout the decades of development, including vocational training consulting in 1976, the establishment of the Changwon Campus of Korea Polytechnic VII in 1979, and an additional project in 1994. Korea actively sought assistance from Germany for vocational training because it had witnessed how Japan had earlier achieved successful industrialization based on the German model.
Korea-Germany cooperation actually began in the early 1960s when Koreans were sent to Germany to work in that country’s nursing and mining industries.[3] Such ties were strengthened when Korea began to look for financial and technical assistance for its development projects outside the United States, since Washington had begun to decrease its foreign aid at a time when Korea actually required more. Korea thus turned to Germany, which would go on to provide major development assistance for Korea early on following only the United States.
 
 
2. Progress
 
The German government provided active support for developing Korea’s vocational training capacity through a series of related projects. As the main donor behind these projects, Germany imparted its advanced vocational training system and standards to Korea through advising and other projects. It also helped to introduce the industrial master craftsman system and the university-industry cooperation system.
 
  <Main projects of technical cooperation>
 
 
  1. Establishment of BVTI
  • March 1967: Release of a joint declaration by the presidents of Korea and Germany regarding the establishment of a training institute upon German President Heinrich Lubke’s visit.
  • May 1967: The two governments sign the Agreement on the Establishment of BVTI, entailing support from Germany amounting to USD 1.3 million.
  • June 1871: Construction of the BVTI begins.
  • September 1972: Certified technician training begins.
  • March 1973: Korea-Germany agreement expands in scope to include the support of facility support fees, technical advising services, and scholarships.
  • October 1973: Training institute opens.
  • October 1982: Vocational training center opens in Dongrae.
  • 2000: Training institute relocates to Gijang County, Busan.
 
    2. Establishment of the Changwon Campus of Korea Polytechnic VII
  • November 1979: The two governments sign the Agreement on the Establishment of the Changwon Industrial Masters College.
  • August 1986: Korea receives a proposal from Germany regarding the introduction of the industrial master craftsman system, and Korea sends written response in return.
 
    3. Advising Projects
  • September 1966: The two governments sign the Korea-Germany Technical Cooperation Agreement (Treaty No. 233).
  • January 1976 to August 1978: Germany provides expert advice on the seven new vocational training institutes to be set up in Korea with loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
  • September 1978 to December 1983: Germany provides technical and other forms of assistance for the creation of IBRD-loan-based vocational training institutes and for the Department of Industrial Electronics at the BVTI.
  • January 1984 to December 1986: Germany provides assistance for introducing the university-industry cooperation system and for operating the Department of Industrial Electronics at BVTI.
  • August 1986: Korea receives a proposal from Germany regarding a vocational training advising project (regarding the industry-university cooperation system and the opening of the Department of Molding at the BVTI, January 1987 to December 1988).
  • September 1987: The two governments reach an agreement on additional advising projects upon the visit by Germany’s Assistant-Deputy Minister of Economic Cooperation (regarding the establishment of a trainer development institute, etc., January 1989 to December 1990).
  • October 1992: The two governments sign the agreement on vocational training advising (for final and comprehensive support, 1991 to 1993).

    4. Assistance after 1994
  • October 1994: Germany continues to provide technical advice and other forms of support, based on another agreement that divides the cost between the two countries.
 
[1] A 10-Year History of Labor Administration, Ministry of Labor, 1972, pp. 201-202.
[2] Signed on August 26, 1966, and entered into force on February 13, 1967 (Treaty No. 233).
[3] The governments of the two countries had already exchanged the Notes Concerning the Joint Establishment of a Skilled Workers School between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on March 18, 1961, and signed the Protocol Concerning Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in December that year.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2004. Study on Development Aid and Cooperation for South Korea: Size, Scope and Exemplary Effects. Seoul.

  ##PAGE## 3. Details
 
 3.1. Support for the Establishment of Vocational Training Units
 
Germany provided turnkey-based support for the establishment of numerous institutes, which included not only advising on the construction and operation of those institutes, but also supporting the early phase by dispatching vocational training specialists and instructors, providing technical assistance of a comprehensive scope, and transferring equipment and materials for training and education. Germany also invited core Korean vocational training specialists and managers to Germany to enhance their vocational training capacity and in the process ensure the sustainability of German-assisted projects.

Germany continued to provide support for vocational training development projects in Korea for over two decades, varying the forms of its support as Korea’s economy grew and evolved. Whereas Germany’s support during the early part of Korea’s decades of development was concentrated on creating vocational training institutes that could produce skilled technicians of various specialties and effective trainers, it later evolved to include support for the establishment of vocational colleges in the late 1970s, and technical colleges in the late 1980s, with programs that combined both theory and practice.
 
3.2 Advising Projects for Vocational Training
 
Another characteristic feature of Germany’s support for vocational training in Korea is that in addition to providing assistance with unit projects involving the construction of new facilities, Germany also consistently offered technical advice to ensure the qualitative growth of vocational training. As Korea’s demand for vocational training continued to increase and related projects began to multiply in the 1970s, Germany advised on diverse matters, including on the policies, institutions, and measures required for such projects.

Germany assisted Korea with policy and technical advising in seven projects in total carried out between 1976 and 1996. Such advising projects, though they decreased in scope over time, nevertheless continued until 1997, at which time Korea began to bear part of the cost.
 
<Overview of Technical Advising Projects Supported by Germany>
 
 
 
Project Duration Amount (DM) Description
First advising project Jan. 1976 to Aug. 1978 3,000,000 -Technical advice on establishing 7 IBRD-loan-based vocational training institutes
- Four German advisors staying in Korea for 105 months in total; 53 Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn.
Second advising project Sep. 1978 to Dec. 1983 12,530,000 -Advice on IBRD loan projects, and on how to improve the skills testing system for vocational training and establish the Department of Industrial Electronics at the BVTI
-11 German advisors staying in Korea for 174 months in total; 120 Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn.
Third advising project Jan. 1984 to Dec. 1986 3,970,000 -Introduction of the university-industry cooperation system and advice on how to operate the Department of Industrial Electronics at the BVTI
- Four German advisors staying in Korea for 125 months in total; 27 Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn.
-Provision of equipment and parts worth DM 80,000
Fourth advising project Jan. 1987 to Dec. 1988 5,000,000 -Advice on how to improve the vocational training system and establish the Department of Metalwork at the BVTI
- German advisors staying in Korea for 123 months in total; Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn for 207 months in total.
-Provision of equipment and devices worth DM 1.25 million
Fifth advising project Jan. 1981 to Dec. 1990 3,700,000 -Advice on how to create a technical college and consolidate the university-industry cooperation system
- German advisors staying in Korea for 49 months in total; Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn for 209 months in total.
Sixth advising project 1991 to 1993 6,000,000 -Provision of faculty support for technical colleges, and follow-up support for the BVTI and the Changwon Campus of Polytechnic
- German advisors staying in Korea for 80 months in total; Korean trainees dispatched to Germany in turn for 346 months in total; 36 participants in short inspection programs.
-Provision of equipment worth DM 847,000
Follow-up advising project 1994 to 1996 700,000 -Dispatch of German advisors to Korea; overseas training for selected Korean trainees and hosting of Korean investigation delegations in Germany
Total 7 34,900,000  
 
 
 
4. Evaluation and Implications
 
German support for vocational training in Korea is noteworthy for its focus and longevity. In addition to the diverse forms of assistance Germany provided for agriculture, communications, and other features of the Korean economy via its Reconstruction Credit Institute (KFW), Germany also provided intensive support for vocational training via its German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

Germany’s assistance was indispensable for the development and evolution of vocational training in Korea throughout the three decades of the latter’s tumultuous economic development. Whereas the grant-type technical assistance from the US Agency for International Development (US AID) came to an end in the mid-1970s, Germany’s support continued well into the mid-1990s, ensuring that its advanced systems of vocational training had firmly taken root and were flourishing in Korea.
                 
The German style of vocational training differed significantly from the vocational training provided at Korea’s public schools with respect to objectives and methods. Whereas Korean public schools offered a theory-centered vocational education for students aimed at gaining them entry into engineering and science colleges, the German style of vocational training sought to train skilled workers who could start work in industries immediately upon graduation. The governments of the two countries, as a matter of fact, came into sharp conflict over the goal of vocational education when they were negotiating the establishment of the BVTI. Although the Korean government wanted its Ministry of Culture and Education to oversee the entire project, Germany pointed out the shortcomings and flaws of the ministry’s management of a similar project in Incheon earlier, and actively demanded that the project in Busan be overseen by the Ministry of Labor.[1] After some consultation, the Korean government finally decided to accept the German demand.[2]

The change of the overseeing department also made the resulting curriculum more practice- than theory-oriented. With this decision, the German style of vocational training finally began to take root in Korea. This model went on to exert significance influence over the evolution of vocational education later on.

Germany steadfastly maintained its focus on soft and human cooperation, and ensured the seamless transition from one project to the next in supporting vocational training in Korea. In various projects, Germany effectively handled policy and technical advising, and also fostered the advancement of the Korean capacity to develop and manage vocational training programs by assisting with training and providing the required equipment and materials.

Of the DM 65.3 million that Germany invested in three vocational training projects in Korea, only DM 10.7 million was spent on the purchase and transfer of hardware, including equipment and materials. The remaining 83.7 percent of the fund went to providing “software” support and assistance.

This is, in part, because approximately half of the projects involved providing policy and technical advice. The other two projects of technical assistance, however, also involved many soft elements. The establishment of the Changwon Campus of Korea Polytechnic VII, for instance, and the other similar project involved 83.4 and 64 percent soft assistance, respectively.
 
<Details of Germany’s Assistance for Vocational Training in Korea>
(Unit: DM 1,000)
 
Project Soft1 Hard2 Total
BVTI Project 14,070(83.4%) 2,800(16.6%) 16,870
Changwon Campus Project 8,650(64.0%) 4,870(36.0%) 13,520
Advising Projects 31,920(91.5%) 2,980(8.5%) 34,900
Total 54,640(83.7%) 10,650(16.3%) 62,290
 
Notes: 1. Dispatch of experts, invitation of Korean trainees for overseas training, etc.
2. Equipment and materials provided.
Note: Ibid., p. 37.
 
Germany provided all these forms of assistance according to its own exacting, advanced, and standardized vocational training methods and systems, and also worked hard to respond to Korea’s changing needs by introducing and improving the university-industry cooperation system.

Because curriculum development and the provision of training equipment and materials proceeded according to the proven German model, none of these projects faced any obstacles or endured trials or errors. Moreover, Germany ensured efficient and effective follow-up support. It was due to Germany’s vocational training strategies that Korea was able to develop and implement advanced courses and receive equipment, materials and services of proven quality.

Selected Korean trainees were invited to Germany for training based on their potential and the skill sets needed. In addition to developing meticulous training programs for public vocational training institutes, Germany also connected the trainees with private research organizations and corporations in an effort to ensure and reinforce the effect and quality of the training they received.

In particular, the invited trainees were required to reside in Germany and complete their courses over a minimum period of around 19 months to ensure that they had not only gained in-depth knowledge of their specialties, but also that they had acquired the language skills and sociocultural adaptability essential to their training experience. The trainees, moreover, were required to detail their training aims before the program began so that Germany could incorporate such aims into the training programs.

Germany also provided quite an open and flexible training system which, instead of centralizing education in a single educational institute, acquainted trainees with a well-organized university-industry cooperation system involving both public- and private-sector elements.

As the donor country Germany also went to some lengths to ensure that along with its model of vocational training, its social and cultural values and traditions—as reflected in that model—were also introduced to Korea. In particular, Germany made great efforts to transplant its unique Meister system and university-industry cooperation system in Korea, and though Korea strove to actively accept and establish these measures, the donor country’s reports at the time noted that in fact such systems had not borne much fruit in Korea.[3] This was most likely because Korea’s value system, educational model, and perceptions about occupations fundamentally differed from Germany’s.

All in all, Germany’s vocational training assistance stands out among the diverse forms of bilateral development aid and assistance Korea received during its development period. Of course, Germany provided development aid and cooperation above and beyond vocational training assistance which, at any rate, was not even the most pressing concern on its list of aid to be provided to Korea. Yet Germany’s support for vocational training in Korea provides an excellent example of effective development aid with a sectorial focus. Moreover, these vocational training projects not only helped Korea to create and expand its own technical education system during its period of industrialization, but also significantly helped Korea in overcoming the chronic shortages of skilled workers and technicians who were crucial to the country’s development.
 
 
[1] See the German Economic Cooperation Investigators Group’s findings (March 14, 1969 to March 25, 1969) and the progress report on the proposal for the creation of the BVTI (Ministry of Labor, May 1969).
[2] See the Arrangement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany regarding the Establishment of a Vocational Training Institute in Busan, signed on May 16, 1970.
[3] Klaus Schaak, The Transferability of the Dual System of Vocational Education and Training: The Korean Example, Nov. 1999, p. 5.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2004. Study on Development Aid and Cooperation for South Korea: Size, Scope and Exemplary Effects. Seoul.