In the afternoon of June 2, the session “Introducing Top Foreign Universities to Jeju Global Education City” was held on the last day of the 7th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity in Seogwipo City.
Currently the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) has started pursuing prestigious international universities to become part of the Jeju Global Education City (JGEC), a government initiative that began in 2006. The purpose of the JGEC is to internationalize Jeju, said speaker Lee Sung Ho, general director for the Edu-city Dept JDC, while also trying to prevent Korean students from leaving the country to study at international schools abroad.
On 3.7 million square meters at the cost of 1.78 trillion won (US$1.5 billion), the JDC hopes to attract roughly 10 elementary, middle, and high school, as well as 10 university departments for the education city’s University Zone.
Moderated by Ahn Choon Yong, chairman of the regulatory Reform Committee; presenters, Kim Choon Ho president of SUNY Korea; Ian Gow, professor and executive president of the Sino-British College; and Kevin Kinser, associate professor at State University of New York at Albany, all work for universities similar to what the JDC hopes to create with their University Zone. They gave advice on how to make the JGEC a success.
For the past several decades, said Ahn, Korea has been the fastest growing economy due to the nation “looking inward.” Now, with development, there has been an increase in demand from Korean students who are looking to become more globalized and wishing to attend foreign universities to gain an international education.
“That is why we have the phenomena called the ‘flying geese family,’ sending children coupled together with the mother to English speaking countries,” Ahn said.
Those who can’t afford those high tuitions go to Malaysia, Thailand, and other Asian countries with high levels of English education.
“I believe the Jeju Global Education City is the main architecture of transforming Jeju into a truly free international city,” said Ahn.
Though he said that the JGEC is facing many difficulties “if Jeju Education City succeeds I think this will have a tremendous effect to trigger nationwide globalization,” Ahn concluded.
The University Zone, said General Director Lee, will consist of specific departments from 10 to 15 universities that correspond to the needs of Jeju, like tourism and business departments, as well as education to create teachers to teach within the JGEC.
Kim Choon Ho of SUNY Korea, the first US undergraduate university in Korea to open next year, located in Incheon near Seoul, said that there are three major difficulties in establishing this sort of endeavour.
The first, he said, was deciding which schools the JDC want to have on Jeju.
Lee said that to specifically lure “top-notch universities,” they will be offering the 200 highest-ranked schools with financial incentives.
Even with this advantage it will be difficult because “you are in phenomenally hot competition with countries in Southeast Asia who are also throwing large amounts of money at top universities to come to their countries,” said Gow.
“A multinational consortium of top 200 universities, frankly is impossible. But what is possible is one top 200 university and a number of other universities in subjects that don’t get you into the world ranking,” said Gow, adding that having one top school will attract other institutions.
Another option Gow suggested was: “You could, of course, work with Jeju [National] University and make a plan … make them a partner and help to build them up for the future as well because you have to ask the question … can you afford two universities or will one steal the staff from the other?”
The second difficulty that Kim mentioned was recruiting teachers, simply saying that even with all the benefits these types of schools offer, many high-quality teachers do not want to relocate.
“It is very difficult to get staffing,” said Gow. “Even if the top of the [foreign] university wants to do it top professors have to be attracted by incentives — not necessarily money incentives. For example if you want to do research on lava then this would be a great place.”
The third issue that Kim foresees has to do with culture differences between the professors, their students, and their new home.
“Korea is very fast once they want to do something,” Kim said as an example. “The US thinking process is very conceptual and there is a big difference between the two.”
He said that even at the management level the differences in culture can be problematic. The university’s “CEO is very important, they must know both cultures. If they don’t the university will fail.”
“I’ve seen it,” he said.
Gow continued on this issue stating though the school’s curriculum can be British or American, from wherever the home school is from, but “the social campus has to be done in a way that suits the regulations and the law of the country.”
The 7th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, organized by the Jeju Peace Institute and hosted and sponsored by several organizations and corporations, began at 4 p.m on May 31. with the Special Session “Conversation with Steve Wozniak: The End of the PC Era and Future of the IT Industry.” A total of 58 sessions in the categories of prosperity, environment, peace, gender, education, and one titled etc. will be conducted from May 31 to June 2 at the Haevichi Hotel & Resort Jeju, Seogwipo City.
Under the theme of "New Trends and the Future of Asia," the 7th Jeju Forum will examine political and social issues affecting the area within a historical context to encourage cooperation and community building in the region. The forum will also afford the opportunity to simultaneously gauge the political and financial climate throughout the world to better understand Asia’s position within it. As this year marks the 20th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and China, there will be several sessions dedicated to the future of this union like “Korean Unification and China,” and “20 Years of Diplomatic Relations between Korea and China - Push Forward Strategic Cooperative Partnership.”
Hundreds of incumbent and former heads of state, experts, leading businessmen, academics, and activists including former Prime Minister of Australia Paul John Keating, former Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva, Chinese People’s Political Party Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee Member Xie Bo Yang, and Apple Inc. Co-founder Steve Wozniak will be on hand for the three-day event to discuss the future of Asia.
Some of the other topics to be addressed during this three-day conference include the future of the IT Industry, new growth engines for the region, the environment, financial cooperation, welfare expansion, and others.
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