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SNU’s Ambitious Local Education Plan

Posted December. 05, 2006 07:07,   


Gwanak-gu in Seoul will be transformed into a “city of lifelong education” with the help of the Seoul National University (SNU) College of Education. On December 4, the SNU College of Education announced that it submitted a proposal to turn Gwanak-gu into “Gwanak Edu-Valley” with an estimated budget of 300 billion won by 2020 to the Gwanak district office and agreed to conduct a joint study on the project with the district office.

The project is noteworthy in that it is the long-term effort between the university and the local community to normalize public education and contribute to the education, culture, and welfare of the community. So far, contributions of a college or a university to neighborhoods have taken the form of short-term volunteering program or one-off lectures.

‘From the Cradle to the Grave’, ‘from Unemployment to Employment’, and ‘from Everyday Life to Arts’

The three catchphrases represent the vision of the project, ‘Vision 2020: Gwanak Edu-Valley. ‘

‘From the cradle to the grave’ shows Seoul National University’s promise to provide lifelong education to the residents in Gwanak-gu. Under the project, SNU provides custom-made education for every recipient, from gifted children to the elderly, and welfare for all residents of Gwanak-gu.

‘From unemployment to employment’ represents SNU’s plan to enable anyone who wants to participate in economic activities. Under the project, the university provides the unemployed, early retirees and other retirees with education programs on how to land a job and how to found a business. It aims at nurturing human resources and helping them to find jobs suitable for them, thus creating a new growth momentum for the community.

“From everyday life to arts” shows SNU’s ambition to enhance living standard of the local residents. Under the project, SNU provides local people with culture education and leisure activities to help them to enjoy a rich cultural life.

SNU’s idea is to make Gwanak-gu an undisputable home to lifelong education through implementing the three plans.

Providing Education for Gifted Children and Establishing English Village-

The college suggested as short-term measures to provide education to gifted children, expand currently running ‘learning helper program’ (also called as ‘mentoring program’), offer education customized for the elderly, low income families, and the unemployed, provide education consulting to local educational institutions, and entrust education providers with specialty-aptitude education and science experiment class.

Currently, the Science Education Institute for Gifted Youth of the SNU Education Research Center offers education for gifted youth living anywhere in Seoul. Under the project, the institute adds a program for the gifted youth who are residents of Gwanak-gu. Those students will learn from professors, graduates, and undergraduates individually or in groups. They will be offered not only education but also career counseling.

Under the project, the so-called ‘mentoring program’ will be improved to provide better education to more beneficiaries. Currently 300 SNU undergraduates have participated in the program to offer private tutoring service to 1,000 students from low-income families in Gwanak-gu and Dongjak-gu.

Education for the elderly, low-income families and the unemployed will be improved and further developed from the current one that is run by a lifelong learning center in Gwanak-gu.

Education consulting will be provided to the kindergartens and elementary, middle, and high schools in regard to education environment, teachers, curriculum, and evaluation system with an aim to provide quality education to students. Joint studies with schools will be accompanied with education consulting.

To improve science experiment class of secondary education currently suffering from lack of facilities and equipments, it was suggested SNU Education Information Hall may lend college facilities and equipments.

Under the long-term plan, SNU and Gwanak-gu will transform Gwanak-gu into “Gwanak Edu-Valley” by building and establishing needed educational and cultural research centers in Nakseongdae area in Gwanak-gu.

To that end, it was suggested that English village, science museums, gyms and fitness centers, and offices for providing advice on starting business should be built for the sake of students and residents. Also it was suggested that cooperative relationship between primary and secondary educations should be created.

Currently, Gwanak-gu has a plan to build English village around the backdoor of SNU and is waiting for the result of its bid.

If selected by the Seoul city government, the district authorities will build the village and entrust SNU with running the English village to provide quality English education for students and residents.

It was also suggested that all the education, culture, welfare facilities (including schools, libraries, art centers, museums, and community centers) should be linked to related SNU departments and institutions for education consulting.

Gwanak-gu as a city of colleges-

SNU will contribute to turning Gwanak-gu a leading education district to improve the quality of life of residents of Gwanak-gu.

Dean of SNU College of Education, Cho Young-dal said, “SNU’s educational and cultural capacity will be translated into the entire community, thus contributing to transforming the district into an education center. By next year, we will come up with concrete action plan through a joint study.”

The college launched a study on this project starting this spring and suggested its idea to the district office early June.

The dean of the SNU College of Education, Cho Young-dal, met Deputy Mayor of Gwanak-gu, Park Yong-rae, submitted the proposal to him, and agreed on a joint study on it.

It the project is launched successfully, Gwanak-gu will became a “new college city” where the community and the college are closely linked like the one in Europe.

The main architect of the project Kim Dong-il, head of the planning department of the college, said, “SNU can be benefited from the district office’s systematic support to utilize human resources and the district office can be benefited from SNU to improve out-dated educational environment. It is a win-win situation.”

SNU college of Education and Gwanak-gu will start a joint study from end of this year or early next year and sign a memorandum of understanding as early as late next year.