Posted October. 25, 2005 07:25,
Every year around November, at the front gate of Daejeon Electronics & Design High School at Hwa-am Dong, Yuseong-gu in Daejeon, a placard that reads 100 percent employment with big companies hangs. The school has five departments including the electronic communication department and the product design department.
Among 108 third year students studying at this schools classes that prepare students for jobs, instead of college admission tests, 96 students employment status is already fixed. About 80 of them landed a job at renowned big companies such as LG.Philips LCD, Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Koreatronics, and HANSOL LCD.
All the 159 students who graduated earlier this year from these classes got jobs at these big companies. The big companies wanted more graduates from this school, but there were not enough graduates.
Since this school was established in 1997, I have questioned myself, What kinds of talents do big companies want? I came to the conclusion that big companies would best know the answer, said Jeong Sun-gyu, the schools principal.
Jeong said, Soon after, teachers were sent to big companies with which we had sister relationships in order to gain a thorough understanding on what the companies want vocational schools to do to prepare students for jobs. And the result was integrated into the curriculum of this school.
For example, most vocational high schools do not teach semiconductor keyboard design, a skill that is required by companies in the field of electronic communication, saying that it is not included in the curriculum. However, learning semiconductor keyboard design has been a must for students at this school for several years.
Subjects related to electronics are taught to students of the industrial design department too. The idea is that although they will work as designers, since most of them are employed by electronics companies, gaining knowledge on electronics will help them work in seeing the forest, not just the trees, in the future.
A third year student of this school, Kim Mi-seon (18, the industrial design department), whose employment with Samsung Electronics was fixed some time ago, said, I heard from a senior of mine that companies prefer students from this school because they can put them to work without training them separately since they join the companies fully prepared for work.
This schools two-tier curriculum system is also unique. Under this system, students at classes that prepare students for jobs are allowed to start to work at companies starting from July in the form of on-the-job training.
In 2003, Jeong presented the details of how the two-tier curriculum system was managed for vocational high schools around the country.
Besides, the school has put effort to inducing the best and brightest students of the school to choose classes that prepare them for jobs and it has paid off. The school invites students parents to visit big companies where many of the schools graduates work, once in the second semester of the second grade and once in the first semester of the third grade, before students are required to choose between classes for jobs and classes for college admission tests.
At this school, students who choose classes for those who want to go on to careers over classes for those who want to go on to college education account for more than half of the entire students because they can be assured of getting jobs at big companies and being paid a handsome amount of money, with annual salary in the range of 18 million won to 25 million won. At other vocational schools, the percentage of students at classes that prepare them for jobs exceeds 20 percent by a narrow margin.
Hwang Jun-pil, a teacher in charge of employment said, In order to help students who want to go on to careers to clearly understand what they want, I frequently take time out of my schedule to talk to them, adding, Among graduates who were employed, many of them continue to study through university education programs offered at their workplaces.