Friday, 15 May 2015


With a literacy rate of a whopping 97.9 percent South Korea has the second best education system in the world after Finland (Source: Pearson Report with data from the Economist Intelligence Unit). Did you know that South Korea also has also one of the best K-12 education systems in the world? And according to a UNESCO report in 2010-At 103 percent,South Korea has the highest tertiary gross enrollment ratio of any country in the world! 65 percent of Koreans between the age group of 25-34 have attained tertiary education (Source: *OECD, 2010) and over 97 percent in the same age bracket have at least finished their upper secondary education. Thus in both measures Korea ranks number one among OECD countries!

[* OECD stands for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and comprises of 20 countries from across the globe.]

Thus in the tenth post of Wow Korea series,I shall introduce my readers to South Korea as a destination for learning when I list out top five universities ranked globally at (2014-15). The educational system of South Korea could make make a good research report for both developing and developed countries to observe the teaching models patterns implemented by educational institutions,the kind of resources and infrastructure invested towards giving an impetus to education and technology deployed for both teaching and learning when it comes to achieving this brilliant feat in the field of education.

1. Seoul National University: Ranked 31 on this illustrious list of top educational institutions around the world,the new nation Korean people have always laid emphasis on education right since their inception. Thus in the year 1946 shortly after Korea regained it's independence, the Seoul National University was established when the educational foundation for a new nation was laid.Though marred by the Korean War of 1950 when the campus had to be abandoned initially as civilians fled to the south, but the zeal and passion of the professors and students sailed through the war when classes were held outside refugee camps.Term it as an "education fever", the Seoul National University has seen remarkable progress over the last six decades. This university which now comprises of 16 colleges and associated grad schools, 6 professional grad schools and 65 research institutes has nearly 23,000 students enrolled in different courses and 2,500 faculty members. There's a tradition of academic excellence that SNU strives for as it trains the most outstanding students in Korea in different fields of undergraduate, masters and doctorate programs with 22 percent of their freshmen belonging to the top 1 percent who take the National Entrance Examination that is similar to American SAT. Interestingly at SNU, one out of five students study until they receive their doctoral degrees which makes it is 27 percent of all the tenure-equivalent professors in Korean universities that are SNU alumni! In the Best Education with Moderate Expense, SNU keeps its class size as small as 15-30 for a select few but yet it costs just 1/8th of American private universities and half of Korean private universities, this is because of sustainable grants received by the university from Korean government.Cutting-edge research by SNU and achievements in the field of semiconductors, automobiles, IT, and Bio technology have drawn the world's attention here. Samsung supported inter-university semi-conductor research center and Hyundai supported Automotive research center represent the SNU-industry relations. The founder's vision of an educated nation has come to fruition with more than half of the lawmakers in the current National  Assembly of Korea, 88 percent of judges in the High and Supreme Court and 55 percent of CEOs of top 500 companies in Korea are SMU alumni. With 460 courses conducted in the English language together with the vibrant campus life at SNU offer a student an invaluable cultural and academic experience. Renowned international speakers visiting the university are a common feature as a part of public lectures and forums. SNU's hi-tech campus with free wireless network at high speed gigabyte is available to all students and is the backbone for general operations so is the Super Computer facility for research.

2. KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology): Ranked 51,KAIST is the first and top most science and technology research university in Korea that was founded in 1971. This institution was established to raise elites in science and technology which was crucial for Korea's economic launch.And over the last four decades,KAIST has been the gateway to modern science, technology and innovation, a driving force to reckon with towards the development of Korea.KAIST uses competitive research, innovation and convergence to finding solutions on global challenges facing humanity. KAIST has begun offering cross-disciplinary academic and research to meet newer demands of introducing young talents who are committed towards global citizen and social responsibility.The most unique aspect about KAIST is that it fosters innovation and creativity in an endeavor to raise global "thought leaders" that are not constricted by the boundaries of disciplines and departments rather towards the greater umbrella of interdisciplinary academic convergence.

3. Pohang University of Science And Technology (POSTECH) : Ranked 86, this is one of Korea's top universities specializing in Science and Engineering. Instructed by some of the finest professors and scholars of the world, POSTECH offers four year programs in ten departments while the Graduate school offers programs in eleven departments.In the beautifully laid out campus, POSTECH provides the best research and learning resources to its student and a faculty which they can utilize to the optimum during their tenure here.In fact the excellence of POSTECH extends beyond the campus for it has international cooperative agreements with fifty sister universities across the world where students are selected for internships abroad and many international students also seek admission to the university as well. Presently, POSTECH is actively engaged in R&D for it supports over 45 research centers on its campus.POSTECH strives towards pursuit of excellence while maintaining its integrity towards providing the best education for each of their gifted students. 

4. Yonsei University: A center of learning that is based on the principles of Christian teaching endeavors to educate leaders of tomorrow who will contribute to society in the ethos of truth and freedom while embracing the culture of the nation and humanity by fostering creative and critical thinking and at the same time nurturing the sense and spirit of justice and keeping an open mind in service to their neighbors. Ranked 106,Yonsei was founded in 1950 and has conferred over 6,000 Doctoral Degrees and 26,000 Master's Degrees in humanities, social sciences,natural sciences, medical sciences and other academic fields to fine scholars and competent researchers till date.Yonsei University Graduate school strives to create programs and curricula to inspire exceptional students with up-to-date knowledge on academic issues of the rapidly changing world. The Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) which was established in the year 1987 to train individuals to become global experts in order to meet the growing global demand for international academic institutions has emerged as a leading professional graduate school in international studies.The GSIS curriculum is aimed at equipping students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills that is essential to excel globally in public and private sectors.The Global MBA (GMBA) aims at introducing a new level of management education to keep pace with the heightened demands and possibilities of this new economy. The GMBA curriculum thus focuses on providing a solid foundation in management with emphasis on developing strong managerial and analytical skills by introducing various concepts of the functional areas of business as well as the relationship that exist within them.

5. Korea University: Ranked at 116, Korea University endeavors at building new bridges by introducing educational programs that emphasizes on multiple majors and interdisciplinary studies, strategic partnerships with private and public R&D centers that pool resources and promote innovative research to meet the challenges of the 21st century. All these bridges are triggered by a mission of educating "intellectuals in action" where men and women are equipped with superior knowledge and moral courage to put their skills into action by providing lasting solutions to problems at hand. This 100 year old institution reflects on the tradition of unceasing endeavor and reinvention because in a world where change is constant,no institution can survive by maintaining status quo hence the assertion and emphasis on investments in new research facilities, information systems and infrastructure to give a boost to the quality of education by giving these bridges the strength and flexibility to march on ward confidently into the next century.
So the next time you are on a visit to Korea,you could pay a visit to some of these educational institutions and tour around different departments,watch some cultural performances, visit exhibitions on-campus or even interact with both the faculty and students to get a deeper insight. And for those on a longer stay there could enroll themselves for a short program offered by some of these leading universities for an enriching and rewarding experience in your field of expertise.

For those of you who have missed out on some of my earlier posts in the Wow Korea Series, click here to read: 
Wow Korea! Part-I
Wow Korea! Part-II
Wow Korea! Part-III
Wow Korea! Part-IV,
Wow Korea! Part-V
Wow Korea Part-VI
Wow Korea! Part-VII 
Wow Korea! Part-VIII 
Wow Korea! Part-IX


No comments:

Post a Comment