Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Education for All: Creative Talent Shapes the Future!

The title of my post is the vision statement for the Ministry of Education for the Republic of Korea.  Today we had the opportunity to meet the vice minister of education Dr. Na.

Dr. Na is a former agriculture teacher, who earned his PhD from The Ohio State University.  It is a small world, where anything is possible.  The fact that he is a former agriculture teacher resonates in my head this afternoon.  Dr. Na is leading the way to have a paradigm shift in Korea, that it is alright for educated people not to have an inflated resume of degrees to become professional citizens of the community.

The idea begins with happy schools, what a novel idea.  Happy schools focus on expanding the student's background of education.  It would include more exposure to the humanities, sports and character building.  Integrating liberal arts with the sciences.  This approach would surely unleash the potential in any student.

Next the plan calls for quality colleges to foster creative talent.  This is accomplished through ideas that we have seen first hand on this trip, opportunities for students to study abroad and truly become a global student.  The use of capstone projects through team activities conducted at the school, and even to compete with the project where there was evidence of industry partnerships.  This will lead to more localized employment for those students and thus a better economy.  Similar to programs FFA had where students worked and studied abroad, perhaps it is time to revisit old ideas that worked.

Finally the piece that interested our group the most was the initiatives in a meritocratic society.  The number of degrees one earns does not mean that the individual is any better or worse than the next individual.  That to create a more even playing field is a positive move in a country that values it's educational programs.  Agriculture education and vocational education in general is taught in the general curriculum, as well as in specialized schools, that promote scholarships to help to encourage students to consider those schools.  

It doesn't matter what country you live in, you want what is best for your children.  I believe I live in such a country and that the United States of America is a place where as the Minister of Education says your dreams of education do come true.  If you can dream it you can achieve it, see you at the top. Thanks Zig, that's why it has been so important on this trip to stay positive.

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