Education: Korea should improve its vocational education programmes, says OECD


04/09/2012 - Korea should reform its vocational education and training programmes to ensure that students leave college with the skills and expertise that companies need in today’s rapidly changing labour market, according to a new OECD report.

The Skills beyond School review of Korea says that strengthening Korea's postsecondary programmes and institutions for vocational training will help the country meet the rising demand for higher level technical and professional skills.

Korea can build on several strengths: the high value placed on education in society, the strong literacy and numeracy skills of its young people, and a strong base of research and data linked to dynamic policy making. The main challenge is that the Korean labour market and its skills system contain rather weak incentives for investment in the skills required by the economy, as opposed to education qualifications which are widely revered.

Among the OECD’s recommendations are that Korea should:

  • Boost industry and business involvement in vocational training through a high profile national body;
  • Improve quality in postsecondary junior colleges, with more rigorous assessments, and standardized curricula linked to national competency requirements; and
  • Introduce mandatory workplace training in junior college programmes
  • This review of Korea is the first published, alongside that of Denmark, of 17 countries pursuing OECD examinations of their postsecondary vocational training systems as part of the OECD's Skills beyond School exercise.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Simon Field at OECD's Directorate for Education (tel. +33 1 45 24 18 71).

See also:

Full country policy reviews are being conducted in Austria, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (England), and the United States (with case studies of Florida, Maryland and Washington State). Shorter exercises leading to an OECD country commentary will be undertaken in Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Iceland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and in Northern Ireland and Scotland in the United Kingdom. Background reports will be prepared in all these countries, and in France, Hungary and Mexico.


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