The Korean Approach to Validation for Lifelong Learning

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The Korean Approach to Validation for Lifelong Learning Kim Shinil Baekseok University, Korea

The Korean Approach to Validation for Lifelong Learning Kim Shinil Baekseok University, Korea

1. Introduction Korea Population 48 million (North Korea, 25 mil. ) Higher education: -

1. Introduction Korea Population 48 million (North Korea, 25 mil. ) Higher education: - Institutions 432 (Univ. 189, more than 2/3 is private). -Students 3, 728, 802 (Univ. 2, 108, 958), mostly young and full time. - Students bear major part of the expenses. - Enrolment rate 76% - Tertiary education attainment of 35~64 age group: 26% 2

In spite of high aspiration of the Korean adult population for university degree, it

In spite of high aspiration of the Korean adult population for university degree, it was almost impossible for them to enter higher education institutions. Universities were already packed with young students. As the learning society grew, adults who desired higher education increased further. Like elsewhere, Korea also had to take a bold measure to cope with the situation. 3

Validation of Prior Learning has emerged as a solution of the problem of higher

Validation of Prior Learning has emerged as a solution of the problem of higher education related to lifelong learning. It is agreed that VPL is an instrument of broadening opportunity of higher education by recognizing and valuing what people have learned in their lives. In long term perspective, VPL leads a change from the schooling society to the learning society. 4

While many countries in Europe have utilized VPL for expanding admission to higher education

While many countries in Europe have utilized VPL for expanding admission to higher education for underrepresented group, Korea took a different approach to the VPL, that is to provide direct opportunity for the disadvantageous to obtain higher education degree rather than to assist entering the higher education. 5

The early policy of VPL in Korea, called ‘Bachelor’s Degree Examination for Self. Education’,

The early policy of VPL in Korea, called ‘Bachelor’s Degree Examination for Self. Education’, was put into operation in 1990 for providing a new track that conferred bachelor degree through only examination for people out of formal higher education. Another measure, called ‘Academic Credit Bank System’, was introduced in 1998 to provide opportunity for adult learners who were able to obtain the degree of higher education through validation of nonformal learning. 6

Both of these measures intended to award the degrees of higher education to the

Both of these measures intended to award the degrees of higher education to the people of non-student who are qualified as having learnt up to same level as university students. The degree award approach to VPL/RPL in Korea has a cultural background in its long history. 7

2. School System and the National Examination The old education system of Korea consisted

2. School System and the National Examination The old education system of Korea consisted of schools and the national examination that lasted more than 10 centuries. The old dynasty started to build a public school system from the 7 th century, which had developed to comprise 3 levels: basic schools, middle schools, and higher education(the Royal College). 8

The national examination started to be operated a little later since the 10 th

The national examination started to be operated a little later since the 10 th century. The examination comprised 3 courses: the civil exam, the military exam, and specialist exam. The civil exam, the most prestigious, consisted of 3 stages: lower, upper, and the highest. Specialist courses included medicine, foreign languages, accounting, astronomy among others. The examination had been an important instrument of qualification for social status as well as for selecting government officials. 9

Age of applicants spread out from the teens to the fifties. Although the stages

Age of applicants spread out from the teens to the fifties. Although the stages of examination in part connected with public school levels, more than half of applicants during the Choseon dynasty for 500 years, took the highest examination without attending the royal college. They, mostly from high class family, managed learning of exam preparation with personal tutor or at the private tutoring classes. 10

In summary, application for the national examination in old Korea, unlike China, was open

In summary, application for the national examination in old Korea, unlike China, was open not only to the graduates of school but also to people without or unfinished schooling. It is needed to explore the function of the examination as a validation of learning out of school and university system. 11

The Korean traditional education with the examination system was discontinued at the end of

The Korean traditional education with the examination system was discontinued at the end of 19 th century, when Korea adopted the modern education system, a very schooling-oriented one, developed in Europe. However, the alternative track through examinations has not disappeared until today. 12

3. BDES - The Bachelor’s Degree Examination for Self-Education emerged in 1990 as an

3. BDES - The Bachelor’s Degree Examination for Self-Education emerged in 1990 as an alternative track that awarded the bachelor degree based on examination without attending higher education institutions. - BDES consists of 4 stages of qualifying examination: general education, major basic, major advanced, and comprehensive. 13

One or two examinations can be exempted for learners who already achieved a certain

One or two examinations can be exempted for learners who already achieved a certain number of credits from university or had certificates of concerned area. - Through the BDES, sum of 14, 000 persons have been awarded bachelor degree in 12 learning areas, Accounting, Chinese language, Computer science for example, since 1990. - 14

4. ACBS - The Academic Credit Bank System was proposed by the President Commission

4. ACBS - The Academic Credit Bank System was proposed by the President Commission of Education Reform in 1996 and went into effect in 1998. - Recognition of learning at nonformal education programs for the higher education degree or diploma by accumulation. About 50, 000 learners are granted degree/diploma for 109 study areas in 2013. - About 70% of learners are 30 years or older. 15

- A noticeable program of ACBS is the validationof learning during the military service.

- A noticeable program of ACBS is the validationof learning during the military service. - All Korean young men are enlisted to the mandatory military service for two years. - An agreement was made between Ministers of the Education and the Defense in 2007. 16

- The agreement established a procedure of recognition of learning from trainings and educations

- The agreement established a procedure of recognition of learning from trainings and educations during the military service, that can be utilized for credits toward the higher education degree through the academic credit bank system, or for vocational qualifications and licenses. - About 310, 000 soldiers obtained credits during the years of 2007~2012. 17

- Another feature of the ACBS is recognition of successors’ learning of the traditional

- Another feature of the ACBS is recognition of successors’ learning of the traditional arts and craft transmitted from the intangible cultural heritage. - Validation toward the degree activated learning of the traditional arts and craft that have been hardly respected at universities. Validation is an powerful instrument for reviving learning of a neglected culture. - The Headquater of the ACBS recently makes more efforts to explore new study areas that are not properly acknowledged at the conventional higher education. 18

5. New Developments - Expansion of validation of workplace learning and vocational experiences. Recently

5. New Developments - Expansion of validation of workplace learning and vocational experiences. Recently several laws have been revised favorably for validation and recognition of learning in industry. For instance: Annually 80 marine engineers obtained certificate by the recognition of field experiences after revision of the act of marine industry manpower in 2008. The revised Qualification Act expanded coverage of validation of vocational learning at work. 19

- Transformation of University Universities are requested not only to provide more programs for

- Transformation of University Universities are requested not only to provide more programs for adult learners but also to transform themselves into the lifelong learner- friendly university. The project demands the participated university to be more flexible and friendly to adult learners and community. Now, 25 universities are participated to ‘Lifelong Learning-Oriented University’. 20

The participated universities are under process of structural and operational changes. - admission criteria

The participated universities are under process of structural and operational changes. - admission criteria and process - reorganization of department/faculty - curriculum and instructional methods - introducing new concept of teaching staff - validation of prior learning - and so on. 21

- Account of Lifelong Learning(ALL) The ALL was conceived as an overarching Management system

- Account of Lifelong Learning(ALL) The ALL was conceived as an overarching Management system of lifelong learning society for accumulation, assessment, validation and recognition of each individual’s all kinds of learning. Philosophy of the ALL is that an individual learner’s abilities deserve recognition whether they have been achieved through a formal education or informal learning. 22

ALL was recommended by the President Commission of Education Reform in 1995, but waited

ALL was recommended by the President Commission of Education Reform in 1995, but waited until 2010 to be implemented. The National Institute for Lifelong Education(NILE) put ALL in operation in 2000. Learners register their records of nonformal and informal learning, portfolios, school records, certificates at the ALL center. - About 5, 000 learners are registered. Very early stage now but will grow. 23

6. Challenges and Tasks - To educate professionals for nonformal and informal learning –

6. Challenges and Tasks - To educate professionals for nonformal and informal learning – ‘Lifelong Education Specialist’. - To develop policies on RVA as essential bridge connecting learning and working. - To reinforce diversification of learning for higher education. - To accelerate the shift from education to learning. 24