[Herald Interview] Daejeon education chief aims to foster global citizens with creativity
Published : Nov 11, 2014 - 19:52
Updated : Nov 11, 2014 - 19:52
From an elementary school teacher to president of Hanbat National University, Seol Dong-ho has spent over 40 years as a teacher. As Daejeon’s education chief, Seol said he seeks to transform the city’s education system.

“What I am focusing on is to prepare students to become dignified members of the global society with creativity and model personalities,” he told The Korea Herald.

“For this purpose, (Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education) is planning to develop a model that links the entire education process from kindergarten to college.”

The purpose of this project is to ensure that each student has a chance to discover his or her talents and aptitude by experiencing the entire educational process as a whole, not just cramming at each stage, according to Seol.

As part of the initiative, Seol said he is preparing “the EDU-Bridge project,” a model that links education at elementary, middle and high school “for the first time in Korea.” He is also pushing for partnerships with universities, corporations and research facilities to complete the process of students finding out their talents at an earlier stage, receiving education for them in the next phase and ultimately using those talents at work. 
Daejeon Education Superintendent Seol Dong-ho. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

“Developing an ideal model for linking schools of different stages and subjects to smooth out the transition to higher-level schools and programs related to a student’s future careers are all under process,” he said.

The ability to come up with imaginative ideas has been touted as one of most important elements of success in the modern society. Even President Park Geun-hye said the success of her trademark “creative economy” initiative was based on educating students to think creatively.

In a bid to establish an education model that fosters such ability, Seol has introduced series of reading and discussion projects for students.

Another focal point of DMOE is English education, which Seol said was an “essential part of a country’s prosperity in the era of globalization.”

“We focus on practical English education that centers on communication. To accomplish this, the DMOE plans to train elite teachers, use native speakers and increase partnerships with foreign schools,” he said.

A key point in Seol’s plan is “Teaching English in English” initiative, for which the DMOE will conduct training courses and an advanced certification process. He said that students would get a plenty of chance to encounter native speakers and English texts, so that students can “acquire” English abilities rather than to have them “taught.”

Seol said he aims to educate students so they would “excel anywhere in the world.”

“The success of students, as well as Korea depends on education. Education is the driving force behind growth and the source of the power that allows us to lead a healthy life,” he said.

By Yoon Min-sik (