The Korean government employs commissioned training which is conducted by private or public institutions other than government training institutions for government officials. Commissioned training is divided into two kinds: domestic training and overseas training.
Domestic commissioned training is composed of several programs such as long-term training for the director-general and manager levels, college and post-graduate training, and short-term training. Long-term training for director-general and manager level officials is conducted in public institutions for one year. College and graduate training provides government officials with opportunities to attend graduate programs at universities with financial support from the government. Selected mid-level officials attend evening graduate schools for earning master degrees. Short-term training includes both foreign language training and three-day special skills training programs at private institutions.
Overseas training was first introduced in 1977 as a means for the government to benchmark the science and technological knowledge of advanced countries; it was expanded to include all areas of government ministries in 1979. Originally, overseas training programs were divided into two kinds: professional job training and the degree program. In the professional job training program selected officials work or research in international organizations or with foreign governments for a certain period of time. The degree program is a two-year academic program wherein selected officials are given the opportunity to study overseas in graduate-level programs related to their governmental positions.
Ministry of Personnel Management (MPM)sends one or two applicants from individual government ministries for the overseas degree program each year. Specifically, each ministry selects its candidates based on foreign language proficiency and job performance, and MPM makes the final decision on selection for the program. [Figure 5] shows the number of trainees who have participated in overseas training since the program’s inception to 1990.
[Figure 5. Number of Trainees for Overseas Training]
Overseas training has contributed to the capacity building of government officials in three aspects. First, selected officials for the overseas training program can absorb advanced knowledge related to their job responsibilities by attending degree programs or conducting research at prestigious universities in developed countries. They can deepen their knowledge in the policy areas that interest them. Such knowledge has been used to great effect for policy development and implementation.
Secondly, officials studying in advanced countries naturally enhance their language proficiency and understanding of foreign cultures and international norms. Such experiences increase their capabilities for international dialogue and ultimately help to advance national interests.
Thirdly, while studying in advanced countries, officials broaden their view on global trends and develop a more cosmopolitan outlook on policy issues. They are also able to build cooperative networks with international scholars and foreign officials. Considering that Korea has developed its economy through international trade, such experiences are vital for formulating new policies that correspond to rapid changes in the international arena.