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Chapter 17: Globalization and Higher Education in South Korea: Towards Ethnocentric Internationalization or Global Commercialization of Higher Education?
Terri Kim INTRODUCTION: THE KOREAN BACKGROUND TO GLOBALIZATION This chapter offers a critical review of the current state of South Korean higher education in the context of economic globalization and examines higher education policy and practice towards internationalization over the last decade or so since the 1997–98 Asian economic crisis. It will, first, review the distinctive characteristics of South Korean development and the ways in which it has met the global challenges of neoliberal marketprincipled restructuring. It is argued that, despite the number of higher education reforms in South Korea, assumptions about the university and its pragmatic and subordinate relations to the national government and the chaebol (the large conglomerates equivalent to the zaibatsu in Japan) have not changed. Given the unique combination of strong governmental regulation and the chaebol’s dominance in university governance and management, the direction of higher education development in South Korea is poised between ethnocentric internationalization and global commercialization. KOREAN COMPONENTS OF THE DEVELOPMENTAL STATE IN THE PROCESS OF GLOBALIZATION South Korea has achieved rapid and high-level economic growth, rising from the rubble of the Korean War in the early 1950s into present-day membership of the OECD and G20. In 2009 South Korea joined the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, the first time since the establishment of OECD in 1961 that a former aid beneficiary had become a donor (OECD, 2009b). The South Korean economy has been driven by manufacturing goods (such as IT electronics, cars, ships, steel and textiles) oriented towards exports,...
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