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Seoul doubles budget for overseas training of civil servants

April 16, 2012 - 15:06 By Lee Woo-young
Seoul Metropolitan Government is sending more officials overseas under the mayor’s pledge to expand overseas training of civil servants

Officials said Monday that the city government plans to send about 780 officials abroad for the maximum two weeks of training from May to December, this year. Last year, 350 officials were dispatched to overseas training courses.

The budget for overseas trainings of up to two weeks increased 52 percent from last year’s 1.3 billion won to 2.7 billion won to 2.7 billion won this year, according to city officials.

“Overseas training programs are expected to help broaden their global view and draw up creative policies that can be applied to make the city better,” said Lee Dong-ryul, director of the city’s human resources development division.

Started in 2007, the overseas program will be applied largely to working-level civil servants this year.

“We are asking them to learn urban policies of foreign countries and see whether we can benchmark them,” Lee added.

The first batch of 210 officials will spend 15 days mostly in European countries and English-speaking countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the official.

“They will learn social innovation mechanisms in European countries, multicultural policies in Australia and disaster prevention measures in the U.S.,” Lee said.

The second team of 300 officials is slated to go to Asian cities. In Beijing and Shanghai, they will be able to learn about attracting foreign investment, and learn about tourism promotion and flood prevention in Singapore.

The third group of 264 officials will be divided in teams and plan trips on their own.

“We haven’t tracked how the training program has contributed to real policy making, but from this year, we will make it a formal procedure to submit reports on what they have seen and what they are going to recommend for city policy,” said Lee.

By Lee Woo-young  (