Formal and Informal Patterns of Coordination
New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series
Edited by Werner Pascha, Cornelia Storz and Markus Taube
Chapter 5: Higher Education Reform in South Korea and the Transformation of University Governance
Peter Mayer 5.1 INTRODUCTION This paper outlines the key features of higher education in South Korea. It continues with the identification of the main challenges South Korea’s higher education system is confronted with. The main part of the paper addresses the issue of governance in higher education in Korea: it describes and analyses key aspects of the attempts of policymakers to transform the system of governance in higher education. 5.2 KEY FEATURES OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTH KOREA South Korea’s economic success over the last 50 years has been spectacular. South Korea was a poor developing country in 1950, and is now the 13th largest economy in the world, with an average gross national income level per capita well above US$20 000 (OECD 2008). While much credit has been given to South Korea’s export orientation and its specific stateled development model as engines of growth, there is little doubt that part of the success rests on the educational zeal in Korean society. The Confucian tradition is said to influence Korean society in attaching a high value to education. Knowledge has always been recognized by policymakers and society at large as key to Korea’s future. All political leaderships in the past highlighted the need for high investment in education and the connection between educational performance and economic success. Kim Dae-jung chose the term ‘knowledge-based society’ as a catchword to direct public attention to the key challenges Korea would have to face in the future. South Korea is now known as...
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