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Vocational Education
and Training in Korea
Edited by
Young-bum Park & Jisun Chung

Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training

PREFACE

Human resources, which have contributed to the miraculous and


compressed economic growth of Korea in the last half of the
twentieth

century, has had a greater influence in this knowledge-

based economy. This is the era where knowledge and innovation


are the keys to competitiveness rather than abundant human
resources.

In the 21st century, as new buzz words (such as,

learning society, lifelong learning, basic vocational competency,


social capital, social competence, globalization, information society,
etc.) emerge, the function of technical and vocational education
and training(TVET), which plays a role of nurturing knowledge
workers, is growing more and more important than ever before.
Korea was able to achieve economic development in a short
period of time, thanks to human resources development(HRD)
through TVET, and developing nations are benchmarking Korea's
experience in both economic and
development model. For its part,

HR development as their
Korea is willing to actively

participate in international development cooperation projects, in


order to share its successful experience of transforming itself from
one of the world's poorest country to a donor country, with the
international community.

Also, it is exerting its efforts to achieve

win-win development, and to maintain friendly relations with


developing nations, and will play a role as a bridge between
advanced and developing countries.

Korea

Research

Institute

for

Vocational

Education

and

Training(KRIVET), which is a government-financed think tank that


studies

systems

and

policies

related

to

the

lifelong

skills

development of Koreans, is willing to introduce the picture of


Korea's vocational education and training by dividing them into
vocational

education

and

vocational

training

to

share

their

successful experience of Korean systems and policies. Vocational


education can be defined as turning students into human resources,
required by the industries, through formal education, under the
supervision of the Ministry of Education. Vocational training, on
the other hand, is carried out with the intention to develop and
enhance workers' and adults' vocational skills, which are under the
responsibility of the Ministry of Employment and Labor and other
related ministries. This book introduces the overall range of
Korea's

TVET

areas

of

expertise:

Vocational

Education,

Vocational Training, Evaluation of Skills Development, Career


Education, and Qualifications System.

September, 2013

Young-bum Park
President of KRIVET

Contents i

< CONTENTS >

Chapter I. Social and Economic Background of


Korea and VET
1. Social Background prior to 1960

2. Labor Intensive and Export-Oriented Industrial


Development, 1960s~1970s

3. Technology-Intensive Economic Development, 1980s


~1990s
13
4. Development of Knowledge-Based Society and
Stabilized Development Period, 2000s

17

5. Characteristics of Vocational Education and Training


in the Process of Economic Development
21

Contents ii

Chapter II. Vocational Education System


1. Overview of Education System

32

2. Development of Vocational Education

36

3. Vocational Education at the Secondary Level

40

A. Specialized Vocational High School


B. Meister High School

42
46

4. Vocational Education at the Higher Level: Vocational


College
54
A. Customized Education
B. Industrial Commissioned Education
C. Major Intensive Course for Bachelor's Degree

57
58
59

5. Directions for Future Development

62

References

65

Contents iii

Chapter III. Vocational Training System


1. Introduction

69

2. Development Process

72

A.
B.
C.
D.

Introduction and Settlement (1960s1970s)


Development (1980s)
Turning Point (1990s)
Innovation (after 2000)

3. Major Institutions and Policies


A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

In-Service Training
SME-Specific Training
Training for the Unemployed
Training in Strategic Areas
Loan System of Training Expense

4. Implementation System
A. Related Legislation and Finance
B. Delivery System

72
73
75
76

79
79
86
92
100
105

107
107
111

5. Considerations

115

References

119

Contents iv

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training


1. Evaluation of Training Providers

126

A. Grounds and Purpose of Accreditation


126
B. Background and Progress of Training rovider Evaluation
126
C. Structure and Procedure of Evaluation
129
D. Evaluation Index
130
E. Use of Evaluation Results
133

2. Screening of Vocational Training Programs


A. Screening of
Development
B. Screening of
Industries
C. Screening of

135

Training programs under the Skills


Account System
135
Training for National Key and Strategic
147
Distance Training
151

3. Conclusion

161

References

162

Contents v

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career


Education in Korea
1. Overview of Career Education
A. Background of Career Education
B. Definition and Roles of Career Education

2. Policy of Career Education


A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

Career Education in the National Curriculum


Targets and Achievement Criteria of Career Education
Personnel to Support Career Education
Creation and Dissemination of Career Information
Legal Grounds for Career Education

3. Delivery System of Career Education


A. National Level
B. Regional Level
C. School Level

4. Trends and Issues of Career Education

165
165
166

170
173
175
179
183
186

188
190
193
194

195

Appendix Changes in Major Career Education-related


Policies(1982 to present)
201
References

204

Contents vi

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System


1. Introduction

209

2. Development of Vocational Qualification System

211

A. Vocational Training and the Vocational Qualification


System
211
B. Development of the Vocational Qualification System
through Legislation
214
C. The Blue print for Qualifications
218

3. Current State of the Vocational Qualifications System


in Korea
223
A. Current State of NTQ
225
B. National Qualification Supported by Individual Laws 232
C. Private Qualifications
236

4. Changes in Vocational Qualification System and


National Competency Standards

238

A. The Necessity of the NCS


238
B. Current State of the NCS Development
242
C. Measures to Settle the NCS-based Qualification System 245

5. Conclusion

247

References

249

- 6 -

List of Tables i

List of Tables
<Table

- 1> SWOT Analysis for Economic Development in


Korea before 1960

<Table

- 2> Performance of Economic Development, 1962~2012 11

<Table

- 3> Population of Korea (2012)

19

<Table

- 4> Number of Registered Foreigners in Korea (2011)

19

<Table

- 1> Trend of the Enrollment Rates in Higher Education 35

<Table

- 2> Wage Gap according to the Education Level 40

<Table

- 3> 2012 Number of Students and Rates by Major in


Vocational High School

41

<Table

- 4> Standard Requirements of Meister High School 49

<Table

- 5> Strategies of Meister High Schools

51

<Table

- 6> Status of Vocational Colleges (2012)

54

<Table

- 7> Number and the Entrance Quota of Higher


Education Institutes

<Table

55

- 8> Number of Students and the Rates per Major in


Vocational Colleges in 2012

56

<Table

- 9> Status of the Industrial Commissioned Education 59

<Table

- 1> Changes in Vocational Training System at Each


Economic Development Phase

77

List of Tables ii

<Table

- 2> Status of Employer-Provided Training for


Employees by the Corporate Size

<Table

81

- 3> Details of the Training Under Paid-leave by the


Corporate Business (December 2011)

82

<Table

- 4> Comparicon of Employee-directed Training

84

<Table

- 5> Status of Employee-Directed Training in 2011

85

<Table

- 6> Details and conditions of the SME Learning


Organization Support Project

<Table

89

- 7> Details of SME Systematic On-the-Job Training


Support

<Table

91

- 8> Job Status of the Training for the Unemployed


(December2011)

<Table

- 9> Target of Specialized Training for the Vulnerable


Group and Qualifying Conditions

<Table

99

- 10> Major Training Courses in Korea Polytechnic


Colleges

<Table

- 11> Legislations on Vocational Training in Korea

<Table

- 12> Status of Accounting of Job Skill Development


Program Fund (2011)

<Table

95

101
108
110

- 1> Evaluation of Training Providers and Screening of


Training Programs

124

List of Tables iii

<Table

- 2> Current State of Training Provider Accreditation by


Year

<Table

- 3> Yearly Accreditation Schedule (as of 2013)

<Table

- 4> 2013 Index to Evaluate Training Provider for


Vocational Competency Development

<Table

128
130
132

- 5> Differentiated Supervision Based on Evaluation


Results

134

<Table

- 6> Items of Training Program Screening

<Table

- 7> Results of Training Programs' Adequacy Screening 146

<Table

- 8> Process of Screening Training Providers on


Commission

<Table

148

- 9> Score Allocation for Screening of Training for


National Key and Strategic Industries

<Table

142

149

- 10> Performance Evaluation Items and Scoring Method


150

<Table

- 11> Screening Items of the 1st Stage Screening for


Web-based Distance Training

<Table

- 12> Screening Items of the 2nd Stage Screening for


Web-based Distance Training

<Table

157

- 13> Screening Items of the 1st Stage Screening for


Print-based Distance Training

<Table

156

158

- 14> Screening Items of the 2nd Stage Screening for


Print-based Distance Training

159

List of Tables iv

<Table V - 1> Objectives and Achievement Criteria for School


Career Education

177

<Table V - 2> Roles and Jobs of Specialized Career Teachers 180


<Table V - 3> Comprehensive Career Information Service via
CareerNet

184

<Table V - 4> Major content of the Proposed Act on Career


Education Promotion

186

<Table V - 5> Function of Specialized Organizations and Their


Support for Career Education

191

<Table V - 6> Visions, Trends and Issues of Career Education 196

<Table

- 1> Outline of the 1st and 2nd Plans

<Table

- 2> Classification and Current State of Vocational


Qualifications in Korea (as of April, 2012)

<Table

- 3> Changes in the NTQ Items

<Table

- 4> The Trend in the Number of NTQ Holders by


Skill Level

<Table

224
226
231

- 5> Current State of National Qualifications by


Ministries in Charge

<Table

219

235

- 6> The NCS and Their Development into Programs 243

List of Figures i

List of Figures

[Figure

- 1] Changes in the Number of Workers by Industry

16

[Figure

- 2] Changes in per capita Income, 1960~2011

18

[Figure

- 1] The Schooling System in Korea

33

[Figure

- 2] Comparison of the High School Completion Rates


by OECD Country and Ages

[Figure

- 3] Number of Students in General High Schools and


Vocational High Schools (1965~2012)

[Figure

45

- 6] Recommendation and Deliberation Process for


Meister High Schools

[Figure

39

- 5] Changes in the Employment Rate of High School


Graduates (1970~2012)

[Figure

38

- 4] Change in the College Entrance Rate of High


School Graduates (1965~2012)

[Figure

36

48

- 7] Changes in Number of Students attending Higher


Education Institutes (1965-2012)

60

[Figure

- 8] Employment Rate of Graduates by Education Levels 61

[Figure

- 1] Vocational Training of Korea During the 2nd to 7th


National Economic Development Plans

74

List of Figures ii

[Figure

- 2] Status of the Consortia for HRD Ability Magnified


Program

[Figure

87

- 3] Process of the Naeil Baeum Card training for the


Unemployed

[Figure

- 4] Trend in the Training Jobs in National KeyStrategic


Industries (2007-2011)

[Figure

93
103

- 5] Status of Loans for Training Expense Tuition Fee


for Workers by Year (2003-2011)

105

[Figure

- 1] VET Training Provider Evaluation System

[Figure

- 2] Flow Chart for Use of Training Provider Evaluation


Results

[Figure

- 3] Screening Process

[Figure

- 4] Program Screening and Evaluation for Distance


Training

[Figure

- 5] Detailed Procedure of Pre-screening

129
133
139
153
154

[Figure V - 1] Eight Basic Concepts of Career Education

168

[Figure V - 2] Achievement and Roles of Career Education

169

List of Figures iii

[Figure V - 3] 2009 Revised Curriculum Human Characteristics,


Content into Curriculum

172

[Figure V - 4] Objectives of School Career Education

176

[Figure V - 5] Career Experience Support System

185

[Figure V - 6] Implementation System for Career Education Policy 189


[Figure V - 7] A Discussion Body of Organizations Specialized in
Career Education
[Figure V - 8] Map of Teachers' Roles

[Figure

191
194

- 1] Progress of Vocational Training to Vocational

Qualification System

214

[Figure

- 2] Vision and Targets of the 3rd Plan of NTQ system 220

[Figure

- 3] Strategy and Tasks of the 2nd Plan for Management

Operation of Qualifications
[Figure

223

- 4] The Structure of NTQ's Skill level and

Items(Example)

227

[Figure

- 5] Current State of Those who Took the NTQ Testing 229

[Figure

- 6] Current State of Those who Acquired the NTQ 230

[Figure

- 7] Comparison of NCS-Training Standards Testing

Criteria

241

Chapter I.
Social and Economic Background
of Korea and VET

1. Social Background prior to 1960

2. Labor Intensive and Export-Oriented Industrial


Development, 1960s~1970s
8
3. Technology-Intensive Economic Development,
1980s ~1990s
13
4. Development of Knowledge-Based Society and
Stabilized Development Period, 2000s
17
5. Characteristics of Vocational Education and
Training in the Process of Economic
Development
21

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET

3.

Chapter I. Social and Economic Background of


Korea and VET

Young-bum Park1) & Jisun Chung2)

Korean economy and society have developed rapidly over the


last 50 years attracting attention from the world, which has been
dubbed, "the Miracle of
war,

Korea

has

Han River". Rising from the ashes of

become

developed

country

achieving

industrialization and economic development in a short period of


time and is the only country that has transformed from a recipient
country to a donor country. The world is surprised by the
miraculous

development

of

Korea.

In

particular,

developing

1) President, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and


Training, ybpark@krivet.re.kr
2) Senior Research Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational
Education and Training, jschung@krivet.re.kr

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

countries want to benchmark Koreas successful development


model than other developed countries.
Conventionally, production factors are land, labor, and capital,
which in a sense can be considered human and material resources.
In regards to labor, human resources, quality and quantity are
both of equal importance. Quality of labor is dependant upon
population, working hours, and labor intensity. Quantity of labor is
determined based on values such as education, skills, confidence,
diligence, and law-abiding spirit. Economically developed countries
have qualitative human resources. In Korea, where material
resources are limited, human resources greatly contributed to the
development of the country.
The

rapid

development

of

Korea

is

attributed

to

the

government's decision for modernization of industrial structures and


a planned economy. Qualitative human resources nurtured by a
unique zeal for education in Korean society are also the main
drive for the nation's development. In the country where there had
been no special resources to lead economic development, human
resources

were

the

only

factor

to

contribute

to

economic

development. Confucianism, which took root in Korean society,


has had a big influence on the establishment and implementation
of the education system and policies. Specifically, vocational
education and training played a key role in providing human
resources

to

meet

industrial

demands

at

each

economic

development level.
Here, the human resource development system is discussed as
a growth engine contributing to economic development. To this

5.

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET

end, the periods of Korea's economic development are categorized


into four groups, according to the level of development that is
examined.

The

first

period

consists

of

the

pre-economic

development before the 1960s; the second period is comprised of


industrialization led by labor intensive exports from the 1960s to
the

1970s;

the

third

period

is

the

emergence

of

the

technology-intensive economic development from the 1980s to the


1990s; and the fourth period is composed of knowledge-based
economic development and stabilized development after the 2000s.

1. Social Background prior to 1960

Korea was liberated from the 36 year-Japanese colonial rule


(1909~1945) in 1945 when the Second World War ended. The
Korean peninsula, located geographically between power nations
such as the U.S., China, Japan, and the former Soviet Union, was
under the influence of various countries and had increasing
exchanges. The U.S. and the former Soviet Union took the
trusteeship

over

the

southern

and

northern

parts

of

Korea

respectively. Three years later, on July 17, 1948, the constitution


was established for the first time in Korea. On August 15 of the
same year, the government of the Republic of Korea was
established as a democratic republic under the presidential system.

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

The periodical characteristics of the country in this period can


be

explained

in

<Table

I-1>

through

analysis

of

strength,

weaknesses, opportunities and threats(SWOT). The SWOT factors


had an impact on the process of early industrialization and
economic development in the early 1960s.
Korea was in short supply of natural resources needed for
industrialization. The insufficient natural resources were used by
Japan to conduct the Second World War during the colonialism
and the natural resources were concentrated in the northern region
of the nation. Under Japanese rule, Koreans did not have
opportunities for education and the illiteracy rate was high.
Educated human resources were lacking and skills was insufficient
along with low productivity. To make matters worse, the Korean
War broke out on June 25, 1950 and the truce agreement was
signed in 1953. At that time, Korea was a typical under-developed
agricultural nation with a per capita income of US$70-80. Limited
natural resources were depleted and extreme poverty, chaos, and
disorder dominated society.
After three years of war, the territory of the country was
divided into the South and North. The instability of international
relations were one of risks against the nation surrounded by the
world powers such as the former Soviet Union, China, the U.S.,
and Japan. Under these circumstances, it was difficult to establish
a stable environment to pursue economic development. However,
in a state where society was devastated and the social class
structure was destroyed, education was the only mechanism to
provide opportunities for climbing up the social ladder.

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET

7.

Confucian values that put emphasis on work and learning


played a strong role in social and economic development. A
Confucian tradition which took root in national ethos, values, and
learning highlights the diligent workforce for the nation, society,
and family. These values

encouraged Koreans to participate

passionately in achieving knowledge and skills and contributed to


economic and social development.
Abundant human resources at low cost had a comparative
advantage in the environment where SWOT factors in <Table I-1>
existed and interacted each other. After the 1960s, the government
took advantage of the situation and promoted the export-oriented
and labor intensive light industry as a strategic industry. In the
meantime, policies to nurture human resources were drawn up to
support strategic industries in order to improve the poor education
level and insufficient technological capability at that time.

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 1> SWOT Analysis for Economic Development in


Korea before 1960

SWOT
Strength

Weakness

Opportunity

Threat

Factors
Confucian culture: Enthusiasm for education,
diligence
- To be loyal to the country and society
Lacking natural resources
Low educational level
- Deficient educated human resources
- Insufficient technological capability
Devastated territory
Collapsed social class structure
Desire to belong to the upper class
Economic and social reward for learning
Korean War and national division
Ideological fight for hegemony by power
nations surrounding the Korean peninsula and
geopolitical instability

2. Labor Intensive and Export-Oriented Industrial


Development, 1960s~1970s

Before the 1960s, Korea highly depended on foreign aids from


the U.S. and other countries. However, the new government,
launched in 1961, carried out a series of economic development

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET

9.

plans and implemented policies to consolidate the foundation for


self-supporting economy. The following are the purposes of each
economic

development

plan:

To

establish

the

basis

for

self-sustaining economy (the First Economic Development Plan), to


promote

economic

independence

(the

Second

Economic

Development Plan), to realize the self-reliance economic structure


(the Third Economic Development Plan), to fulfill self-development
(the Fourth Economic Development Plan), and to develop society
(the Fifth Economic Development Plan). Those five plans became
turning points in the history of the Korean economy.
In 1962, the first 5-year economic development plan was
established. The government exercised leadership to realize the
strong will of the people to live a better life and move forward
with economic development based on the plan. Per capita income
in 1961 was under US$100. The basic goal of the first economic
development plan was to cut the economic and social vicious
circle and strengthen the foundation of a self-reliant economy. The
basis for industrialization was established through the promotion of
technology in order to emerge from an agricultural based society.
The government developed key industries and nurtured the light
industry which depended on low-skilled workers and simple labor
to reach a goal of increasing exports. Meanwhile, the first 5-year
industrial technology promotion plan was established in 1962 in
order to obtain technically skilled human resources and improve
technical standards. In particular, by increasing the enrollment
numbers and upgrading the facilities and curriculum of engineering
high schools they were able to foster skilled workers.

10

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

During the first economic development plan, the government


promoted key industries such as cement, oil refining, and fertilizer
industries and foster wig, shoes, textile, and other light industry
goods as exporting items. On the other hand, robust exports
thanks to the Vietnam War accelerated economic development.
The traditional agricultural society that was based on the first
industry

went

through

industrialization

and

developed

the

manufacturing industry by focusing on the second industry. During


the period, Korea's average annual economic growth rate was
7.7%. Per capita income increased from US$87 in 1961 to
US$125 in 1966.
The basic goal of the second economic development plan
started in 1967 was "to modernize the industrial structure and
establish an independent economy". The strategies were production
of

food

enough

establishment

of

for
basics

domestic
for

consumption,

advanced

industries,

reforestation,
employment

expansion, control on population growth, increase of farm income,


promotion of scientific and managerial skills, improvement of
technologies and productivity to name a few. Job training plans
were also promoted to foster technical professionals such as
technicians and engineers who were needed for industrialization.
The export industry attained better results than expected leading
economic development. In 1971, GDP per capita reached at
US$285 with the economic growth rate of 9.7%, as shown in
<Table I-2>.

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 11.

<Table

- 2> Performance of Economic Development, 1962~2012


GDP
(US$,
100MN)

Rates of
Economic
Growth (%)

GNI
per capita
(US$)

Growth Rates
of GNI (%)

1962

23

2.2

87

2.2

1966

37

7.8

125

5.8

1971

95

10.4

290

9.0

1976

298

13.5

818

17.9

1981

724

7.4

1,800

6.2

1986

1,137

12.2

2,643

15.4

1991

3,155

9.7

7,105

9.8

1996

5,728

7.2

12,197

5.4

2001

5,046

4.0

10,631

3.3

2006

9,511

5.2

19,691

3.9

2010

10,147

6.3

20,562

5.6

2011

11,164

3.6

22,489

1.5

2012

11,292

2.0

22,708

2.6

Source: Economic Statistics System. Korea Bank.

The

goal

for

the

third

economic

http://ecos.or.kr.

development

plan

(1972~1976) was set as "harmony in growth, stability, and


balance" and for the fourth (1977~1981), as "growth, efficiency,
and balance". In the third and fourth plans, the focus was on the
heavy chemical industry and six industries that included steel,
chemistry,

nonferrous

metal,

machinery,

shipbuilding,

and

12

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

electronics were selected as strategic industries. At the same time,


engineering high schools, junior colleges, and engineering colleges
offered and expanded majors related to the strategic industries.
Thanks to a construction boom in the Middle East and an
increase in construction exports, the domestic economy continued
to improve from 1976 and the age of US$1,000 in GDP arrived
in addition to achieving US$10 billion in exports in 1977.
In the period, large companies including Hyundai, Samsung,
Daewoo, Posco, and LG led the national economy and laid the
groundwork for economic development. Many of those large
companies grew into conglomerates. Some analyzed that they
possibly received selective benefits in the process of economic
development. In the early stages of economic development, the
government

actively interfered

in

the distribution

of

limited

resources, which created controversy over preference. Government


aids in specific areas caused excessive or overlapping investment
and some argued that this was a harmful effect created from
developmental dictatorship.
In

October

1972,

the Revitalizing

Reform (Yushin) was

declared and political and social instability continued. Nevertheless,


the average annual economic growth rate stood at 9.7%. Rapid
economic development brought positive quantitative growth but
qualitative growth emerged as a social issue. Inflation rose, the
export

prices

started

to

lose

their

competitiveness

and

an

imbalance among industries stemming from concentrated investment


in the heavy chemical industry became a problem. As the Yushin
regime concluded at end of the 1970s, analysis and discussions on

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 13.

democracy were left: how to handle imbalances among regions,


classes, and between large enterprises and small & medium sized
enterprises.

3. Technology-Intensive Economic Development,


1980s~1990s

As the 6th Republic, a new government, was launched in the


early 1980s, the economy was converted into the market-oriented
based on autonomy and justice or competition. The fifth economic
development plan (1982~1986) aimed at "stability, efficiency, and
balance" and the title of the plan changed to "the 5-year
economic and social development plan". More focus was placed
on democratization breaking from the authoritarian political culture
and the government-led economic development of the past. The
Olympics in 1988 was a good opportunity to see where Korea
stood within the international community.
The goal of the 6th economic and social development plan
(1987~1992) was "to advance economy and improve national
welfare based on efficiency and balance". The key tasks for the
plan was the establishment of an advanced economy, technology
immigration, price stabilization, growth strategies for balanced
distribution among regions and classes, and qualitative development
rather than quantitative growth. Major policies were technology

14

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

development

and

increased

investment

in

the

machinery,

electronics, and automobile industries along with the improvement


of national welfare. The economy was making great strides with
an average growth rate hovering around 10%.
In

the

1980s,

there

were

significant

achievements

in

economic development and industrialization and high level of


technologies

were

accumulated.

The

government

selected

value-added and technology-intensive industries such as the heavy


and chemical industry as strategic development industries. Cheap
labor no longer had an internationally competitive advantage.
Through the realization of technology immigration, job skill
training, and education, policies to support strategic industries were
established. In line with the policies, colleges and universities
offered majors and departments related to major industries to
nurture a highly educated workforce. Higher education institutes
continued to grow and people increased their spending on private
education.
In the face of the Asian Financial crisis that hit the country in
November 1997, the financial sector and the foreign exchange
market aggravated problems caused by accumulated structural
problems of high cost-low efficiency, series of bankruptcies of
large companies, weak financial institutions, and the spread of the
Southeast Asian economic crisis. Financial institutions competed
with each other over profitability and created bad loans, which
resulted in the degradation of the nation's international credit
ratings.

In

the

labor

market,

restructuring

increased

the

unemployment rate as well as the number of irregular workers.

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 15.

However, the Korean economy recovered from the financial crisis


rapidly. Up against the foreign currency crisis, Korea implemented
economically

open

policies

and the economy

stabilized and

flourished. Korea conducts more international activities as the


country established a framework to expand world trade under the
World Trade Organization(WTO) system, joined the Organization
for

Economic

Cooperation

and

Development(OECD),

and

participated in the G20 summit meeting. Meanwhile, the country


drastically

expanded

the

distribution

infrastructure

such

as

establishing an international airport and high-speed railway in


addition to nurturing the information and communication industries
by making intensive investments. Economic situations overseas had
a positive influence on the Korean economy. The competitiveness
of the country improved as the exchange rate stabilized and
financial and labor costs decreased via active restructuring efforts.
With the arrival of the knowledge based economy era,
restructuring and mass unemployment caused by the financial crisis
brought an end to the era of lifelong employment when a
company guaranteed an employee a job for life. Therefore, new
practice of lifelong employment took place in which people
changed

their

Accordingly,
important

jobs

according

vocational

and

had

to

to

their

training

and

provide

human

vocational

education

abilities.

became more

resource development

demanded by industries and develop workers' abilities.


In the 1960s and 1970s, there was quantitative growth based
on exports of the light industry products with low-cost labor, but
in

the

1980s,

there

was

qualitative

development

based

on

16

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

stabilized prices achieving a surplus in the international balance of


payments. In the mid 1980s, Korea gained US$2,000 in GNP,
joining the ranks of developing nations. In the late 1990s, the
country was hit by the Asian Financial crisis and became a
developed country in the 2000s.
As industrialization continued, the number of people in the
first, second, and third industries dramatically changed. The
proportion of workers in the agricultural industry (the 1st industry)
continuously declined in the 1970s from 63% in 1963. On the
contrary, the proportion of workers in the second industries of
manufacturing and mining was only 8.7% in the 1960s but
doubled to 14.2% in 1971. [Figure I-1] shows that the proportion
of manufacturing and mining workers increased to 27.2% in 1991,
but since then, it has decreased gradually until the 2000s. The
worker proportion in the third industry of service has been on a
persistent rise and it has grown into the largest employment sector
since the 1980s.
[Figure

- 1] Changes in the Number of Workers by Industry

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 17.

4. Development of Knowledge-based Society and


Stabilized Development Period, 2000s

In the late 1990s, the knowledge-based society arrived and the


information

and

communications,

electronics,

semiconductor,

shipbuilding, and automobile industries became core industries and


more focus was put on these services. Also, policies were
implemented to increase investment in science and technology and
support venture companies. In order to develop high value-added
knowledge based industries in these areas, it was emphasized to
nurture technical professionals. The government-led training and
education system began to be converted into a privately led and
user centered training system. Policies that provided vocational
training to disadvantaged groups including low-income families,
under-educated people, rural area residents, women, the elderly,
and the disabled emerged as an important issue. In 1995, the
Ministry of Labor established and began the operation of the
Employment Insurance System to meet increasing demand for
technical training and education.
In 2002, Korea was ranked the eleventh in international trade
volume, the first for Internet usage, the third for semiconductor
production and the fifth for automobile production. The economic
growth rate recorded 8.6% in 1999 thanks to recovery from the
foreign exchange crisis and development in new technology filed.
In

2007,

Korea

ranked

among

US$20,045 in per capita income.

developing

countries

with

18

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Economic development in Korea obtained a remarkable


achievement in a short period of time and talented human
resources were the major motive leading to economic development.
Per capita income increased steadily for 30 years from 1965 to
1995, per capita income grew 100 fold. The national income
stood at US$20,000 in 2009, 15 years after it reached US$10,000
in 1995. In 2011, the figure was US$21,529, as shown in the
[Figure I-2].
[Figure

- 2] Changes in per capita Income, 1960~2011

The domestic and foreign environment has changed rapidly.


The paradigm shifted from an industrial society to a knowledge
based society. The era of economic development being determined
by high quality knowledge and technologies rather than the
opulence of basic factors including natural resources, capital, and
labor arrived. Furthermore, the trend of low birth rates and an
aging society has changed the labor market structure. The structure
of the Korean labor market became that of a developed economy
and the population growth rate and the number of economically

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 19.

active people decreased at the same time. In Korea, there were


49,779,440 people in 2011 and are 50,004,000 people as of 2012
as shown in <Table I-3>. The number of people aged 65 and
over was 5,700,972 (11.5% of the total population) making the
nation an aging society. Also, the number of registered foreigners
in Korea was 982,462 in 2011 (refer to <Table I-4>). Those
foreign workers flowed into the labor market as Koreans with a
higher

education

level,

get

older,

and evade

3D

(difficult,

dangerous, and dirty) jobs.


<Table

- 3> Population of Korea (2012)

Year

Population

Total
(persons)

Men
(persons)

Women
(persons)

Portion of
Women (%)

2012

Total

50,004,000

25,040,000

24,965,000

49.9

Total

49,779,440

24,942,339

24,837,101

49.9

Aged 65
and over

5,700,972

2,332,588

3,368,384

59.0

2011

Source: Statistical Information Service (KOSIS), Korea Census Office of


Survey Management Bureau.

<Table
Year
Total

- 4> Number of Registered Foreigners in Korea (2011)


2011

(Persons)

Foreigners

Men

Women

982,462

554,482

427,979

Source: KOSIS, Information Team of Korea Immigration Service in the


Ministry of Justice.

20

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Job creation for the elderly and the youth is a major issue in
the labor market. How to deal with the irregular worker issue and
polarization is also a task for Korean society. The external
environment is rapidly changing and globalization is swiftly taking
place. Meanwhile, China, has transformed into the world's factory
by improving its manufacturing technologies which has affected
the Korean manufacturing industry. In the past, only companies
specialized

in

international

trade were

influenced

by

global

conditions, but nowadays, companies focusing on the domestic


market are also impacted by globalization. Not only manufacturing
companies but also service providing companies should develop to
compete with world rivals. In the era of globalization, world class
competitiveness is required at the national level as well as at the
corporate and individual levels.
The vocational education and training in Korea had a function
to provide technical manpower meeting demands of levels of
industrial development and became the driving force of economic
growth reinforced under the influence of the Confucian culture
that values learning and working. In the face of the era of
globalization and lifelong learning, the government is implementing
various policies and systems to encourage the vocational education
and training system to contribute to economic development as a
core motive. The government helps individual workers develop
global competitiveness and concurrently builds up the skills
development system for the disadvantaged group to deal with the
polarization of the labor market.

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 21.

5. Characteristics of Vocational Education and


Training in the Process of Economic Development

Demands for human resources had changed according to five


year-economic development plans implemented in the 1960s and
levels of industrial development. In order to meet the demand, the
vocational education and training in Korea was established and
various policies and institutions were carried out. An abundant
workforce at a low price was the key driver for the development
of export-oriented and labor-intensive industries in the 1960s.
Skilled workers were required in the 1970s to develop the heavy
chemical industry apart from the light industry. Therefore more
vocational high schools and vocational colleges were established.
During this period, more high school graduates got jobs than went
to universities.
As

the

importance

of

vocational

training

increased,

the

Vocational Training Law was established on January 17, 1967. At


that time, public vocational training facilities, equipment, and
technologies were obtained with foreign aid and the central
vocational training center founded in 1972 played a role in
nurturing

training

teachers.

Qualification

Act

was

qualifications

which

In

1973,

established

were

handled

to
by

the National
generally

Technical

manage skill

individual

government

departments. The national technical qualification provided learners


with incentives for technology education and vocational training
and at the same time, played a role in the foundation of

22

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

guaranteeing the quality of human resources. The qualification


system is categorized as follows: national technical qualification
and national qualification under individual legislation. The private
qualification

is

categorized

qualification,

registered

into

private

three;

accredited

qualification,

and

private
in-house

qualification. The national technical qualification is largely divided


into the qualification for skills & techniques and qualification for
services. The qualification for skills & techniques has 5 levels of
professional

engineers,

master

craftsmen,

engineers,

industrial

engineers, and craftsmen.


Human Resources Development Services of Korea was founded
in 1982 in Korea to operate separated public vocational training
facilities in a comprehensive way. The establishment of the
women's

vocational

training center

and the Ilsan

vocational

training center for the disabled, expanded the scope of vocational


training by providing opportunities of vocational training to the
socially disadvantaged class.
In the 1990s, as the era of information oriented society and
knowledge-based society emerged and the service industry grew
dramatically, demand for high-quality human resources increased.
Prior to the 1990s, the goal of educational reform was a
quantitative increase of education but it changed to the quality
improvement of education after the 1990s. Junior colleges and
universities

made

efforts

to

improve

educational

quality

by

reinforcing academy-industry cooperative education in order to


produce human resources specialized in cutting-edge technologies.
Public

vocational

training

facilities

were

transformed

into

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 23.

Polytechnic Colleges and private training facilities established joint


vocational training centers that changed to Human Resources
Development Institutes of the Korea Chamber of Commerce &
Industry.
From the late 1990s, the government implemented a financial
funding program stressing cooperation between industries and
vocational education institutes to advance the education and
training system which cultivated human resources adapting to
workplace and meeting industrial demands. It was encouraged to
develop

and

operate

curriculum

reflecting

demands

and

characteristics of regional industries. Based on mutual cooperation


among local governments, regional education offices, and local
industries, the vocational education pushed for changes centering
on industries and learners.
In addition, career education was underlined for students to
create awareness, explore, and prepare for their career within
school education. Especially, after the financial crisis in 1997, a
shortage of technical manpower and unemployment of the highly
educated youth came to the forefront. The stress was put on the
role of education to foster creative talent who were flexible in the
rapidly changing labor market and had competitiveness.
The Framework Act on Qualifications was established in 1996
to

determine

basic

matters

of

the

qualification

system:

to

categorize qualifications into national qualifications and private


qualifications and to diversify managing entities of the system in
order to meet demand for various qualifications according to the
development of industrial society. That was an effort by the

24

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

government

to

promote

people's

vocational

competency

by

managing and operating the qualification system in a systematic


and efficient way and improving public confidence of the system.
The three vocational education laws of the Vocational Education
and Training Promotion Act, the Framework Act on Qualifications
and the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and
Training Act were enacted and promulgated in March 1997. Based
on the laws, the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education
and Training was founded as a government-funded research
institute

to

support

the development

of

Koreans'

vocational

competence.
The government established the Employment Insurance System
in 1995 and raised vocational training funds for companies. The
financial crisis started in 1997 created large-scale unemployment.
As the meaning of jobs changed from a lifelong workplace into
lifelong working, a growing number of people achieved national
technique

qualifications.

The

Employment

Insurance

System

contributed to the re-employment of jobless people by providing


grand-scale vocational training.
After the 1990s, the government placed more attention on the
skills development for the socially disadvantaged class and lifelong
learning led by private or individual organizations began to receive
attention. In line with the situation, the "training for the individual
employed" program was launched to provide training expenses
directly to irregular workers and workers in SMEs who had a
negative view of vocational training opportunities. The 'Tomorrow
Learning Card System' training introduced to train the unemployed

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 25.

in 2011 was the most innovative and customized training system


under

which

the

jobless

chose proper

training courses

for

themselves with the assistance of consultants, instead of depending


on conventional consigned-training institutes.
Meanwhile, the 2nd Qualification ManagementOperation Basic
Plan (2012~2016) was established based on the Framework Act on
Qualifications to lay the foundation of linking work, education and
training, and qualifications via the National Competency Standards
(NCS). With NCS, the government systematically categorized
knowledge, technologies, literacy and other criteria required to
execute duties by industries and levels. NCS is used in various
areas

such

as

school

education,

job

training,

qualifications,

corporate and personal competence development, etc. The Park


Geun-hye administration set a goal to realize a competence-based
society, not an educational background-focused one and proposed
an administration task to systemize NCS. By doing so, the
government gives an impetus to the establishment of an education
and training system to meet industrial demands.
In 2009, the school curriculum was revised to include career
education in a clear and comprehensive way. According to levels
of schooling, the importance of career education's role and lifelong
learning were strongly emphasized with the key contents to
understanding, exploring, and pioneering careers. To conduct career
education,

reformative actions

were

taken to

newly

prepare

"creative experiential activities" and designate the subject of


"career and occupation" as a selective subject.
The Ministry of Education provided measures to promote career

26

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

education in 2013: to offer personally customized career consultations,


to

operate

talentaptitude-oriented

curriculum,

to

have

more

career-experience activities, to give training to improve ability for


career education,

to expand participation of parents in career

education, to vitalize the career education support system, and to


study and analyze the status of career education. Especially 'Free
Learning Semester' is one of the government policy tasks. The goal is
to give career education which encourages students to find their
aptitude and befitting career and to develop vocational competence in
their chosen career.
Recently the government promoted a policy to reinforce career
education to deal with youth unemployment in a highly educated
society and insufficient vocational

education in high schools. As

part of efforts to transform the educational background-focused


society into an ability-oriented society, the government has made
intensive investment in policies for specialized vocational high
schools

and

meister

high

schools

since

2008.

Specialized

vocational high schools value students' talents and aptitudes


designed to nurture talented human resources in specific areas or
to provide experience-oriented education such as field training.
Meister high schools are a small number of selected schools
among specialized vocational high schools focusing on vocational
education.
The purpose of meister high schools is to run a curriculum
that is customized to industrial demands based on agreements with
specific industries and to foster core, skilled human resources that
are demanded by the labor market. Meister high schools aim to

Chapter. Social and Economic Background of Korea and VET 27.

nurture an outstanding industrial workforce meeting the demands


of special industries. Students of specialized vocational high
schools can choose between getting a job and going on to
university after graduation, but students of meister high schools
have no choice but to find work.
The policy is to establish a vocational education model which
increases the quantity and quality of employment of high school
graduates with the full support of the country within the basic
framework of industry-academia cooperation and

the advancement

of high school career education. By focusing on "Employment


First, College Later", meister high schools were designed to deal
with the imbalance of demand and supply of the workforce and
to provide more job opportunities for high school graduates.

Chapter II.
Vocational Education System

1. Overview of Education System

32

2. Development of Vocational Education

36

3. Vocational Education at the Secondary Level40


A. Specialized Vocational High School
B. Meister High School

42
46

4. Vocational Education at the Higher Level:


Vocational College
54
A. Customized Education
B. Industrial Commissioned Education
C. Major Intensive Course for Bachelor's Degree

57
58
59

5. Directions for Future Development

62

References

65

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

31
.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

Jisun Chung3)

Korea attracts attention from the global community regarding


its remarkable economic development in a short period of time.
Korea had insufficient capital and lack natural resources, the key
factors of economic development. In order to overcome these
obstacles, fostering a competitive and skilled workforce became
the major driving force for economic development. According to
the government-led economic development plans, labor forces with
the knowledge and skills required for each level of industrial
development were held in high regard. The system put in place to
develop the industrial workforce in Korea is categorized into two
parts: vocational education and vocational training. Vocational
education is operated under the Ministry of Education as formal
education and vocational training is conducted by the Ministry of
Employment and Labor to improve general workers' vocational
3) Senior Research Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational
Education and Training, jschung@krivet.re.kr

32

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

competency

and

to

provide

training

for

replacements.

The

vocational education system will be introduced here in addition to


the

functional

changes

and

development

of

the

vocational

education system in the process of economic development will


also be analyzed and the status of the vocational education system
will be explained.

1. Overview of the Education System

Korea's schooling system is divided as shown in [Figure II-1];


six years of elementary school (primary education), three years of
middle

school

and

three

years

of

high

school

(secondary

education) and higher education. A nine year-education in primary


and secondary schools is the compulsory and national common
education (focusing on basic curriculum necessary in common for
every citizen). Vocational education begins in high schools. Middle
school graduates can choose to go to a general high school or
vocational high school. The purpose of general high schools is to
enter university and the goal of vocational high schools is to get
a job after graduation. There are special-purpose high schools and
autonomous private high schools. As of 2012, there are 653
vocational high schools with 423,544 students in Korea accounting
for 22.1% of total high school students.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

[Figure

Vocational

33
.

- 1] The Schooling System in Korea

education

is

conducted

the

same

as

formal

education from the high school level. Students are educated


according to determined curriculums and then, either join the labor
market or go to college. At the early stage of economic
development between the 1960s and the 1980s, the government
revised the vocational education and training system in the process
of establishment and implementation of a series of economic
development plans. The purpose was to provide human resources
that met strategic industrial needs in each development stage. It is
distinctive in that the government took the lead in implementing
the vocational education system to achieve economic development
plans.
Since the 1990s, the government placed more focus on
qualitative growth rather than quantitative increases in terms of

34

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

economic

development

and

reiterated

cooperation

between

industries and vocational education institutes regarding vocational


education policies. With such government's efforts, vocational
education institutes actively responded to demands for workforce
from industries, and developed curriculum in collaboration with
industries, to strengthen cooperation with businesses for the mutual
benefit of

the education

and employment

of students. The

government offers financial aids based on evaluations and pursues


strategies to improve quality and the performance of vocational
education in order to increase industry-academia cooperation.
Korea was liberated from Japanese colonization in 1945 and
the government of the Republic of Korea was established in 1950.
As a result of Japanese colonial rule and the Korean war,
Koreans were poor and ignorant lacking educational opportunities.
Eighty percent of the population aged 13 and over did not attend
school and were illiterate. The enrollment rate of elementary
school was 50.9% and that of secondary school was 3.2%. Under
the Constitution that the Republic of Korea established in 1948,
primary schooling was obligatory and free to all people. The
Education Law legislated in 1949 stipulates that every Korean
citizen has the right to a six year-primary education. Normal
schools (teachers training schools) and teacher's colleges were
established

to

elementary

education

children

went

train
to

teachers.
was

In

achieved

elementary

1957,
as

school.

universalization

91.1% of
As

of

school-age
next

step,

universalization of middle school education was obtained in 1980

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

35
.

and the enrollment rate of higher education rose to over 50% in


1995. <Table II-1> shows that 71.3% of high school graduates
enrolled in college or university as of 2012 which suggests that
college education has also been universalized.
<Table

- 1> Trend of the Enrollment Rates in Higher Education


Enrollment rate (%)

Year

Total

Male

Female

1980

15.9

23.4

8.1

1990

33.2

55.6

24.3

1995

55.1

63.8

34.4

2000

80.5

89.1

60.7

2008

83.8

84.0

82.2

2011*

72.5

70.2

75.0

71.3

69.0

74.3

2012

* The rate represents the college entrance exam pass rate until 2008. From
2011, the rate means the enrollment rate in higher education institutes.
Source: Statistics Korea(KOSTAT), 2012, Korea Educational Development
Institute(KEDI), 2012.

[Figure II-2] shows differing completion rates of high school


education between two cohorts aged from 25 to 34 and from 55
to 64 of OECD countries. It demonstrates that the young
generation

has

higher

education

levels

Especially among the younger cohorts


highest completion rate of high school

in

most

countries.

aged 25~34, Korea has the


and also has the biggest

gap in between two age cohorts among the OECD countries. This

36

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

indicates that the completion rate increased rapidly in a short


period of time.
[Figure

- 2] Comparison of the High School Completion Rates


by OECD Country and Ages

The figure shows the completion percentage of high school by cohorts


aged 25~34 and 55~64.

2. Development of Vocational Education

The concept and scope of vocational education is defined


variously according to the region and time. Generally vocational

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

37
.

education means educational activities to improve job skills or


develop new vocational abilities for job transfers. In a broad
sense, it is no exaggeration to say that all kinds of education are
vocational since the goal is to acquire competence for a specific
job. Under the Korean school system, vocational education and
general education are divided from the high school level. For the
higher education level, vocational colleges, polytech colleges,
corporate universities and polytechnical universities are in operation
as vocational education institutes. Here, the major vocational
education institutes are introduced by focusing on specialized
vocational high schools, meister high schools, and vocational
colleges.
Vocational education policies in Korea were established at
full-scale from 1960s when the five year economic development
plan started. The government increased the number of industrial
vocational high schools and colleges to foster a skilled workforce
to meet industrial demands in the process of transition from a
conventional

agricultural

society

to

modernized

industrial

country. The strategic industry changed from a labor-intensive and


export-oriented industry to a technology-intensive industry from the
1970s to the 1980s. In the 1990s, it was transformed into a
knowledge-based industry. In a knowledge-based society, vocational
colleges

and universities

strived for quality

improvement

to

produce a workforce with high-tech skills. The goal of educational


reform was focus on the quantitative growth of education prior to
the 1990s, but the goal changed to qualitative improvement after
the 1990s.

38

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

In

the

case

of

recruitment,

conventionally

educational

background of job applicants was more important than their job


competence in the Korean labor market, which became a challenge
to the development of vocational education. The college entrance
rate has increased continuously while the ratio of vocational high
school students has decreased gradually from 36.1% in 2000,
28.5% in 2005, 23.8% in 2010 to 22.1% in 2012 ([Figure II-3]).
[Figure

- 3] Number of Students in General High Schools and


Vocational High Schools (1965~2012)

Source: KEDI. 2012.

The college entrance rate of vocational high school graduates


has been on a growing trend, up from 22% in 1990, 41.9% in
2000, 67.6% in 2005, to 71.1% in 2010 ([Figure II-4]).

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

[Figure

39
.

- 4] Change in the College Entrance Rate of High


School Graduates (1965~2012)

Source: KEDI. 2012.

Meanwhile the tendency that people with higher education


earn more money clearly explains why high school graduates
prefer to go to a 4-year university. As shown in <Table II-2>, if
the wage of a high school graduate is supposedly 100, a college
graduate receives a wage slightly higher than a high school
graduate and a 4-year university graduate gets a much higher
wage. The wage gap according is growing year by year.

40

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 2> Wage Gap according to the Education Level

Year

High School
Graduates

College
Graduates

4-year University
Graduates

2001

100

103.6

152.3

2006

100

108.0

155.4

2009

100

112.5

155.2

2012

100

115.0

167.0

Source: Education at a Glance. OECD. 2012.

More and more people have higher education and middle


school graduates do not prefer vocational high school. This trend
created the lack of jobs for youth and resulted in a mismatch
between supply and demand. In order to handle this social trend
and obstacle against the development of vocational education, the
government launched policies to revitalize vocational high schools.

3. Vocational Education at the Secondary Level

Majors in vocational high schools are categorized as shown in


<Table II-3>; 45.9% of students, the largest portion, are majored
in industrial arts and engineering,

19.9% in social science such

as commerce, 14.3% in liberal arts, 11.1% in arts and sports, and


the rest in natural science, medicine, and education in that order.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

<Table

41
.

- 3> 2012 Number of Students and Rates by Major in


Vocational High School
Major

Number of Students
(persons)

Ratio (%)

Liberal arts

20,404

14.3

Social science

28,401

19.9

459

0.3

65,516

45.9

Natural science

8,938

6.2

Medicine

2,108

1.5

15,845

11.1

1,108

0.8

142,779

100.0

Education
Engineering

Artssports
Special classes
Total

Source: Educational Statistical Services (http://cesi.kedi.re.kr/)

Currently, vocational high schools in Korea are categorized


into three groups: specialized vocational high schools, meister high
schools, and comprehensive high schools. Specialized vocational
high schools are the schools that provide education to foster
workforce in specific areas and experience based education such
as field training etc. for

students with similar talents, aptitudes,

and

91-1,

abilities

(Article

Enforcement

Decree

of

The

Elementary and Secondary Education Act).


Meister high schools, which only account for a few schools,
are selected among other specialized vocational high schools.
Meister is a German word meaning master craftsman acquired

42

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

professional knowledge and high-degree of skills and qualified to


train younger students. Meister high schools implement curriculum
tailored to the industrial needs based on agreements with specific
industries. The goal is to teach the core technical skills for
manpower required by the labor market. Comprehensive high
schools offer various majors in a comprehensive way.

A. Specialized Vocational High School


As part of efforts to systemize and reinforce vocational
education, the title of industrial vocational high schools changed to
professional vocational high schools. In 2008, the Ministry of
Education and Science & Technology changed the schools to
specialized vocational high schools to stimulate competent technical
manpower by strengthening specialization of majors. As of 2012,
there are 483 specialized high schools across the nation. Measures
were taken to reinforce specialization of majors and improve
employability of students by revitalizing atrophied vocational
education at the high school level. To fulfil requirements as
specialized high schools, the schools reformed curriculum to
specialize and diversify vocational education.

Meanwhile, the

schools losing competitive edge as vocational education institutes


are encouraged to transform into general high schools.
The

2+2

curriculum

linkage

system

between

industrial

vocational high schools and junior colleges was introduced to


reflect demands of industrial fields and consider aptitudes of
students. Under the system, high schools and junior colleges

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

43
.

develop and implement curriculum for students in the affiliated


classes to provide connected, consistent, and systematic vocational
and technical education regarding the majors from the high school
to junior college. This is the system where students prepare duly
both employment and study from the high school course to the
associate degree course.
As the low birth rate and aging population contribute to an
increase of retirees, it is estimated that technical experts and
workforce skilled in basic techniques such as welding and molding
are inadequate. The baby boomers are mainly working in these
fields. In addition, there are not enough jobs for highly educated
youth in the labor market even though the college entrance rate is
growing. Unemployment of highly educated youth is emerging as
a social problem. Government established "policies to advance
vocational education at high school" and reformed the specialized
vocational high school system to handle the imbalance between
supply and demand stemming from the highly educated and aged
society.

These efforts

have produced good

results

such as

increasing youth employment.


Along with policies for transformation into specialization
vocational

high

schools,

the

government

established

the

Employment Support Center that consistently finds and introduces


jobs in each metropolitan and provincial offices of education. The
purpose is to improve employment levels of high school graduates
quantitatively and qualitatively. In order to strengthen career
guidance and counseling, the government executes a significant

44

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

budget for the placement of 1,000 vocational guidance experts and


4,500 vocational and career counseling teachers, orientation prior
to getting a job, mentoring support projects, and establishment of
follow-up service after graduation, etc.
In addition, the government encourages public and private
institutions

to

eliminate

discrimination

between

high

school

graduates and university graduates regarding wages and personnel


policies. For substantial field training, the government developed
the guideline and revised the standard agreement for field training.
Specialized vocational high school students are encouraged to find
a job first and continue their study later, rather than to enter
college right after graduation. In fact, "special admission for
specialized vocational high school graduates" is expanding, so
specialized high school graduates can go to college after landing a
job without taking the national college entrance exam. The number
of universities that adopt the special admission has increased from
7 in 2011, 23 in 2012, to 40 in 2013. Corporate universities,
contract department programs, industry commissioned education,
the Korea National Open University and the credit bank system,
and

specialized cyber

universities

are offered

to

specialized

vocational high school graduates. Expansion of scholarship for


specialized

high

school

graduates

attending

universities

is

progressing.
The government has operated the global field training program
for specialized vocational high schools since 2011. The program
aims at fostering technical manpower with global competency and
the ability to conduct actual work. To this end, the program

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

provides

opportunities

to

work

in

foreign

companies

45
.

for

specialized high school students. Under the program, students


spend 3 months on field placement in countries that have
advanced technologies regarding the students' majors and need
technical manpower.
The government has implemented the policy to forge the
identity of vocational education at high school as a core policy in
vocational education since 2008. As a result, the employment rate
of specialized high school graduates has grown. As shown in
[Figure II-5], the employment rate of industrial vocational high
school graduates has been on the rise since 2010.
[Figure

- 5] Changes in the Employment Rate of High School


Graduates (1970~2012)

46

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

B. Meister High School


1) Characteristics and Status
Since 2008, the government has selected a small number of
specialized high schools with quality conditions for vocational
education and designated them as meister high schools. The
government provides full support to meister high schools to play
the role of an advanced base for employment. The purpose of
meister high schools is to conduct substantial vocational education
at the high school level and to provide excellent technical
manpower

satisfying

the

needs

of

specific

industries.

After

graduation, students of specialized high schools can choose to go


on to college or to get a job, while students of meister high
schools have no choice but to get a job.
This is a policy to establish a vocational education model
based on the full support of the country to improve employment
of high school graduates in a quantitative and qualitative manner
within the basic framework of substantial vocational education and
industry-academia cooperation. Meister high schools focus on the
"Employment First, College Later" system in order to actively deal
with the imbalance in the supply and demand of manpower
The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology had
invested

intensively

in

vocational

education in

meister

high

schools. The ministry injected US$15.6 million in 2010, US$57.9


million in 2011, and US$70 million in 2012. In March 2010, a
total of 21 meister high schools were founded and as of 2013, a

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

47
.

total of 35 meister high schools are in operation. The total


number of students of meister high schools is 5,288 accounting
for 4.0% of the total number of students at specialized vocational
high schools.

2) Status of Operation
The process of selecting a meister high school is explained in
this section. Ministries and government departments consult to
identify strategic industries and areas which require intensive
national support for development. When it comes to local strategic
industries, superintendents of education in cities and provinces
recommend
strategic

specialized

industries,

high

suitability

schools
of

while

majors,

considering
and

basic

local
school

conditions. As described in [Figure II-6], the meister high school


deliberation

committee

composed

of

representatives

of

the

government, business circles, and industries and educational experts


deliberates on the recommended schools and the Ministry of
Education designates meister high schools. US$2.5 million is
provided per school for a 1-year preparation period to establish
the foundations for a meister high school. For example, a
designated

school

uses

the

money

to

build

and

operate

dormitories, to purchase experimental and laboratory equipment,


and to develop
education

offices,

curriculum. The metropolitan


local

governments,

and provincial

businesses,

and

related

authorities also provide more than 100% of the matching funds.


The Ministry of Education provides from US$900 thousands to

48

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

US$1.1 million as the operation expense for industry-customized


curriculum every year to meister high schools based on class size.
[Figure

- 6] Recommendation and Deliberation Process for


Meister High Schools

During the preparation period, the selected school should reach


an agreement with a cooperative business and analyze jobs of the
business to develop a customized education curriculum. The
business needs to participate in the school advisory committee, the
curriculum

operation

committee,

and

classes

to

ensure

the

curriculum befitting the local industrial needs. When selecting new


students, talents, interests, and attitudes of students are evaluated.
The standard requirements to establish a meister high school is
described in <Table II-4>.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

<Table
Classification

49
.

- 4> Standard Requirements of Meister High School


Requirements

Major

To focus on promising areas connected with


national and local strategic industries
About 4 majors related to strategic industries

Curriculum
Text book

Fully depending on school decision to ensure


industry-customized education
Refer to Directive on Designation Operation of
Special Purpose High Schools

Career

To establish career path


To ensure employment opportunity via consultative
bodies of industries and businesses
To give opportunity to study the same major
further after getting a job based on agreement with
businesses

Industry
-academia
Cooperation

Agreement with associations sector councils


companies in promising areas
- To appoint representatives of businesses as
members of the school steering committee and
the curriculum operation committee
- To provide industrial experts

Principal
Teacher

Open principal recruitment system,


To guarantee authorities and responsibility of the
principal
To secure the fixed number of teachers who are
qualified for science high schools or above
To secure outstanding teachers (industrial experts
teach at school)
To invite excellent teachers and support to improve
professionalism

Student
Selection

To waive tuition, offer scholarship, dormitory


expenses, and support for students from
low-income bracket

50

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

To select students across the nation based on the


school's own screening process focusing on
students' aptitude and interest in jobs
About 20 students per class

Facility

To secure buildings/labs and cutting-edge


equipments for practice, to provide dormitories
- Possible to share labs, equipments, dormitory
with businesses/colleges

3) System and Strategies to pursue


The following benefits are provided to students to develop
their career: First, male students can postpone military entrance for
four years when getting a job after graduation. During military
service, they are assigned duties that will be beneficial for his
career. Second, students who want to study continuously or to
earn a bachelor's degree can go to college via the special college
admission system for meister high school graduates after three
years in the workforce. Third, opportunities to be trained, get a
job,

and study

overseas

are provided.

Fourth,

students

are

exempted from tuition fees and offered scholarships. Fifth, students


are provided with dormitories, labs, and other facilities (<Table
II-5>).

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

<Table

51
.

- 5> Strategies of Meister High Schools

Strategy
1

To establish career path


To improve ways for vocational high school graduates
to do military service
To expand chances to earn bachelor's degree through
continuous study after getting a job
To encourage students to find a job overseas

Strategy
2

To reform regulations on the meister high school education


To depend on school decision over curriculum
and text books
To recruit experienced CEO as a principal
To use industrial experts as meister teachers
To select students nationwide based on growth potential
To operate schools customized to industrial needs:
Focusing on promising areas and industrial demands
(i.e. local strategic industries)

Strategy
3

To provide governmental supportaid


Exemption of tuition fee and provision of scholarship
Support for training (study) in overseas vocational
schools
Expansion of facilities such as dormitory/equipments

Source: Ministry of Education and Science & Technology. July 1, 2008.

Meister high schools develop curriculum and text books


autonomously to provide education that has competitiveness in
industrial fields to respond to rapid changes of businesses. In
addition under the open recruitment system, meister high schools
appoint a CEO type principal with industrial experience. The

52

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

principal and teachers work closely with businesses to create


conditions to cooperate and pursue mutual goals.
The meister high school committee has a function to check
performance of the school regularly. The committee is composed
of the principal or vice-principal, chief teacher, a supervisor of the
province or metropolis, a leader of the center for meister schools
of the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and
Training(KRIVET),

and

representative

of

the

Ministry

of

Education. The committee can adopt the accreditation system to


secure accountability of the school.

When the school fails to

meet the requirements such as the employment rate, curriculum,


etc. three years after the foundation, the government can change
the principal, reduce supporting fund, or to cancel designation of
a meister high school.
The Ministry of Education, the metropolitan and provincial
offices of education, the center for meister schools of KRIVET,
and the national meister school principal council work on meister
high schools together. In the national meister school principal
council, principals of meister high schools across the country
exchange various opinions and express their stances on policies
for effective operation of the schools.

4) Performance and Evaluation


Meister high schools had their first graduates in February
2013 after they had been founded three years ago. Therefore it is

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

53
.

too early to evaluate the performance of the graduates in the


businesses. However, meister high schools have contributed greatly
to the development of vocational education since they suggested a
new vocational education model that other specialized high schools
or colleges can benchmark. The new model reflected industrial
needs,

autonomously

developed

curriculum,

and

built

up

school-work links. This is considered an attempt to transform an


academic

background-oriented

society

into

society

of

meritocracy. Jobs in promising areas or large companies are


guaranteed for meister high school students before graduation.
Therefore, employment of high school graduates has improved
quantitatively and qualitatively.
Meanwhile,

there

are

concerns

regarding

possible

disadvantages for promotion and wage increases of meister high


school graduates in relation to university graduates given the
conventional recruitment practice and promotion culture of Korean
companies. If the "Employment First, College Later" policy proves
effective, it will be required to consistently increase the number of
specialized high school students who account for only 4.0% of
total high school students in Korea. In addition, when students go
to college with a certain job experience, they should have a
desired major in a chosen college. To this end, supplementation in
related systems is necessary.

54

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

4. Vocational Education at the Higher Level:


Vocational College

Vocational colleges are two to three-year vocational education


institutes where high school graduates can attend. The purpose is
to produce technicians, middle-grade technical experts. As shown
in [Figure II-6], as of 2012, there are 142 vocational colleges
with 492,681 students. The Major roles of the colleges is to
provide professional vocational education in various areas required
by an industries, to develop a professional workforce, to offer
re-training programs

and

lifelong

learning

programs

for

the

employed, to operate major intensive bachelor's degree programs,


and more.
<Table

- 6> Status of Vocational Colleges (2012)


Public

Private

Total

No. of Colleges

133

142

No. of Students

9,360

483,321

492,681

In 1970, the government reflected on the demand for higher


vocational education and changed vocational technical schools to
two-year vocational schools. The number of vocational schools
increased from 26 to 112 in 9 years. According to economic
development plans, the key industry had changed from the light
industry in the 1970s to the heavy chemical industry in the 1980s.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

55
.

To support the transformation, a skilled workforce was necessary.


To this

end,

the government

reformed junior

colleges

and

vocational schools to two or three year-vocational colleges in


1979. Vocational colleges set higher criteria for student selection,
specialized curriculum, and increased lab facilities and equipment.
As vocational colleges have granted an associate degree to
graduates since 1997, the status of the colleges was founded as a
higher vocational education institute to produce technicians.
In 2008, the major intensive course started to grant bachelor's
degrees to graduates

related to their majors. In 2011, the course

of nursing was extended to a four-year program. The number of


students of vocational college accounts for 35.1% of all the
students in higher education institutes, which is the second largest
figure, following 4-year university students (53.1%).
<Table

- 7> Number and the Entrance Quota of Higher


Education Institutes
Number of Colleges
(Ratio: %)

Entrance Quota
(Ratio: %)

Vocational College

146 (42.1)

220,718 (35.2)

University,
University of Education

191 (55.5)

332,965 (53.1)

Polytechnic University

9 (2.6)

14,253 (2.3)

Open University

1 (0.3)

59,700 (9.4)

348 (100.0)

627,636 (100.0)

Classification

Total

56

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Majors in vocational colleges are engineering, agriculture,


commerce,

nursing,

fisheries,

health,

home

economics,

arts,

nutrition, sports, horticulture, nurturing, cosmetology, etc. The


various majors are categorized as social science (27.6%) that has
the largest number of students, engineering science (24.5%), arts
and sports (18.2%), medical (18.2%), and others (refer to <Table
II-8>).
<Table

- 8> Number of Students and the Rates per Major in


Vocational Colleges in 2012
Number of Students
Major
Intensive
Course

Rates (%)

Classification

Associated
Degree
Course

Associated
Degree
Course

Liberal Arts

7,620

100

3.6

2.3

Social Science

57,823

900

27.6

20.6

Education

10,459

255

5.0

5.8

Engineer-ing

51,235

1,215

24.5

27.8

Natural Science

16,410

190

7.8

4.3

Medicine

27,672

945

13.2

21.6

Arts/Sports

38,105

771

18.2

17.6

Total

209,324

4,376

100.0

100.0

Source: Educational statistical services. (http://cesi.kedi.re.kr/).

Major
Intensive
Course

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

57
.

A. Customized Education
In line with

education reform measures,

the government

established industry-academia cooperation policies for vocational


colleges and provided financial support in 1996. The representative
case of industry-academia cooperation that vocational colleges
pursued is the "customized education" system. Under the system,
vocational colleges sign MOU with specific businesses and reflect
on the requirements of the businesses in the curriculum to produce
talented people that the businesses want. In addition, the colleges
hire experts of the businesses as adjunct professors and the
businesses employ the graduates from the colleges. For instance,
"Y Vocational College had a pilot customized education program
with LG Electronics and Samsung Cheil Industries and informed
other colleges about the program. The Y Vocational College took
the lead to establish and spread the customized education model.
The college specialized itself with the customized education
program

and

industry-academia

received

funding

cooperation

from

project.

With

the
the

government's
government

funding the college organized Industry-College Cooperation Corp.,


developed and operated more customized curriculum, improved the
educational environment, purchased equipment, and held industry
and academia joint seminars. The customized education system
brought positive results that substantialized education at vocational
colleges and to increase the employment rates.

58

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

B. Industrial Commissioned Education


The 21st century is characterized by the knowledge-based
society, development of science and technology, knowledge and
information society, and learning society and they all rapidly
change the environment of vocational education. The cycle of
knowledge creation and destruction is shortened and the amount of
newly created knowledge dramatically increases. However at the
same time, existing knowledge becomes less usable. As the cycle
of job creation and extinction is also shortened, the lifetime
workplace no longer exists. Instead, a new era of lifelong working
has arrived where a person changes jobs five to seven times on
average during the life time. To maintain or improve job
competency as a worker in the lifelong working era, the person
should keep up with new technologies and advance his knowledge.
Also, the government needs to establish a lifelong learning system
under which adult workers can develop job skills throughout life.
The higher vocational education institutes are expected to play a
role of a lifelong learning institutes as well.
As a result of these changes, higher vocational education
institutes such as vocational colleges and industrial colleges should
provide lifelong learning opportunities. Industrial commissioned
education for industrial workers and lifelong learning centers
affiliated with colleges are an example of the lifelong education
system.
Under

the

system

of

industrial

commissioned

education,

businesses request vocational colleges to provide education to their

59
.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

employees. Based on the Higher Education Act, an employer


commissions

vocational

college to provide education

of the

associate degree course to his employees who earned a high


school

diploma

or

equivalent

educational

background.

The

employees have opportunities to study areas related to their current


work or their interests. A number of businesses and students in
the industrial commissioned education are as shown in <Table
II-9>.
<Table

- 9> Status of the Industrial Commissioned Education

Classification

2001

2005

2010

2011

Number of Schools

98

116

86

81

Number of Students

29,595

22,176

13,268

12,693

Number of Businesses

20,813

15,025

9,045

8,340

C. Major Intensive Course for Bachelor's Degree


In the major intensive course, a graduate from vocational
college continues his study in vocational colleges with the purpose
of improving his working knowledge and skills regarding his
major and eventually earns a bachelor's degree. After graduating
from vocational college, if a person has completed the 1~2 year
major intensive course, he can receive a bachelor's degree. When
he earns 140 credits or more including credits for the associated
degree course, he can be granted a bachelors degree. As of 2011,

60

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

89 colleges have been operating the major intensive course for


college graduates with industrial experience with an entrance quota
of 5,608. 42 colleges offer the course for college graduates with
an entrance quota of 4,225.
The ratios of students in vocational colleges and polytechnic
universities in relation to higher education institutes has risen from
26.5% in 1990, 36.8% in 1996, to 39.4% in 2000. However, the
ratio started to drop around 2005. It is interpreted as a decline in
population because, students prefer to go to general universities
rather than to attend vocational colleges.
[Figure

- 7] Changes in Number of Students attending Higher


Education Institutes (1965-2012)

In 1996, the government announced the "Education Reform Plan


for Establishment of a New Education System (II)" with the main

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

61
.

agenda of measures to innovate vocational education. With the


plan, the center of vocational education system moved from
vocational high schools to the higher education level focusing on
vocational colleges.
[Figure II-8] shows the employment rate of graduates of
higher education institutes. The graduates of vocational colleges
have a higher employment rates than those of 4-year universities.
As of this higher employment rates of graduates, vocational
colleges are expected to play a key role of lifelong education
institutes for adult workers.
[Figure

- 8] Employment Rate of Graduates by Education Levels

62

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

5. Directions for Future Development

In the era of knowledge-based society and lifelong learning


society, various policies are drawn up to establish the lifelong
vocational education system. The system shall systematically start
from vocational high school and lead to vocational colleges.
Policies of specialized vocational high schools and meister high
school opened a new prospect for vocational education at high
school. Based on the vocational education model, the lifelong
vocational education system will quickly respond to the changes of
Korean society and be developed in order to supply industrial
manpower. In July 2012, relevant ministries jointly announced the
"plan to establish a foundation for continuous open employment in
the new era for high school graduates" and each ministry makes
efforts to support and improve efficiency of financial investment.
It is required to strengthen cooperation among ministries and
government departments to lay the groundwork for employment
more high school graduates. Meanwhile, it is planning to establish
a

re-accreditation

system

for

meister

high

schools

and

designation cancellation system for specialized high schools in


order

to

promote

the

development

of

vocational

education

institutes.
To nurture vocational colleges as a central institute of higher
vocational education has emerged as one of the policy tasks of
current government. The Ministry of Education is promoting a
project to strengthen the educational competency of vocational

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

63
.

colleges and to provide financial support to the colleges in order


to improve the quality of education and reinforce students'
competitiveness

in

employment.

The

government's

funding

program for industry-academia cooperation offered financial support


to vocational colleges to foster technical manpower with field
adaptability and to build up field placement. The colleges achieved
results improving connections with local businesses.
Higher education institutes such as vocational colleges should be
a major institutes of lifelong learning for adults which provides
vocational

education

to

employees.

Vocational

colleges

or

universities of industry already have prepared human resources and


material

resources

such

as

professors,

facilities,

equipment,

buildings, and curriculum to develop the job competency. Therefore,


those institutes are in an advantageous position to establish a
lifelong leaning system for adults. This is a strategy to support
economic and industrial development by making colleges a strong
institute for industry-academia cooperation and lifelong learning.
In the 21st century's knowledge-based economy, creation,
spread, and use of information has become the core of economic
activities and determines the future and competitiveness of a
country. To realize the lifelong learning society, the policies and
system of higher vocational education institutes need to stick to
the following

directions;

First,

it

should

provide

vocational

education that meets industrial needs. Those institutes need to


leave the supplier-centered educational system behind. Instead, they
have to respond to industrial demands quickly, reflect on them in
curriculum flexibly, and modify the curriculum for learners.

64

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Second, a recurrent learning system should be established where


practical

learning,

getting

job,

and

actual

working

are

inter-connected. In other words, vocational education needs to


change to satisfy the requirements of the labor market. Third, the
lifelong learning system for adults and the elderly is highlighted.
A service system is required to develop an increasingly aging
population's job competency making them a productive part of the
population and providing them with employment. Fourth, it is
necessary to support for the development of human resources in
small and medium sized companies. As the level of educational
achievement

is

rising in

Korea,

SMEs

struggle with labor

shortages while young people have difficulties in finding jobs.


More vocational education policies should be in place to handle
the imbalance of supply and demand and cultivating talented
people for SMEs.
The importance of development of vocational competency is
emphasized more in the lifelong learning era. Vocational education
institutes have to keep up with the trend and develop policies and
systems to play a role in a lifelong learning institute for the
vocational education for adults in addition to school aged students.
Vocational education institutes should make efforts to develop
talented human resources meeting industrial demands. Industrial
fields need to establish an environment for workers to continually
develop their job competency. This is the way to realize the
"school-to-work and work-to-school" system and to develop the
lifelong learning system.

Chapter II. Vocational Education System

65
.

References

Chung, Jisun, et. al., "Consultation Skills Development Policies

on

Vocational Competency Development in Asian Developing


Countries", Export-Import Bank of Korea. 2013.
Chung, Jisun. "International Development Cooperation and Vocational
Competency". Vision and Tasks for Vocational Competency
Development, Chunsoo Park et. al., Korea Research Institute
for Vocational Education and Training, 2012.
Educational Statistical Services http://cesi.kedi.re.kr/.
Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training.
"Study Results of the Last 15 Years and Tasks for the
Next 5 Years for KRIVET", Korea Research Institute for
Vocational Education and Training. 2012.
Ministry of Education and Science & Technology. Plan for Korean
Meister

High

Schools

that

Leads

Development

of

Specialized High Schools. July 1, 2008.


Ministry of Education and Science & Technology & Korea
Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training.
Manual of Specialized, Comprehensive, and Meister high
schools. 2012.
OECD. Education at a Glance(EAG). 2012.
Statistics Korea. Korean Educational Development Institute(KEDI)
2012.

Chapter III.
Vocational Training System

1. Introduction

69

2. Development Process

72

A.
B.
C.
D.

Introduction and Settlement (1960s1970s)


Development (1980s)
Turning Point (1990s)
Innovation (after 2000)

3. Major Institutions and Policies


A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

In-Service Training
SME-Specific Training
Training for the Unemployed
Training in Strategic Areas
Loan System of Training Expense

4. Implementation System
A. Related Legislation and Finance
B. Delivery System

72
73
75
76

79
79
86
92
100
105

107
107
111

5. Considerations

115

References

119

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

69

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

Young-Sun Ra4)

1. Introduction
The economic

growth

of

Korea

has

been

considered a

successful case for the economic and social development of


developing

countries

since

World

War

II.

This

success

is

attributed to securing an outstanding workforce. The vocational


training system of Korea, in particular, is regarded as a successful
model among developing countries.
The vocational training system of Korea led industrialization in
the 1970s and 1980s by training skilled manpower that focused on
the manufacturing industry. The system was based on labor market
conditions that estimated the supply and demand of skilled
4) Research fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education &
Training, ysra@krivet.re.kr

70

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

workers for each industrial development phase. The system is


mentioned as a successful case of a government-led policy since it
was designed to obligate companies to conduct vocational training
and invite employers as partners as well as to place a priority on
the nations

economic

development

plan via

public

training

programs. Unlike European traditional vocational training systems


derived from apprenticeships according to market needs, Koreas
system, in its early stages, placed its first priority on securing a
skilled

and

technical

workforce

which

was

necessary

for

industrialization as it was included in the policies for the nations


economic development scheme.
The vocational training system was integrated into employment
insurance along with programs of unemployment benefits and
employment stabilization in 1995 when the employment insurance
system was first introduced. The policy for a vocational system
transformed into an aggressive labor market policy which focused
on

unemployed after the Asian Financial Crisis. The approach of

the vocational system was expanded to the development of


vocational

competency

in

2004

to

provide

people

with

opportunities to develop lifelong vocational competency. As such,


the vocational training system has contributed to the nations
economic development by securing competitive knowledge workers
suitable for competition in the global economic market.
The vocational training system was created as a new system to
secure

high

quality

workforce

during

the

process

of

industrialization after the Korean War and it was regarded as a


skilled manpower training system focused on the unskilled youth.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

71

Todays perception of the vocational training system, however, is


much broader. It now refers to lifelong learning for all workers.
In this context, vocational training refers to training programs
provided for workers (including those who are employed and
willing to be employed) to help them obtain job competency. In
a broader sense, it is educational training programs and related
activities to develop and enhance job competency over ones entire
life. Thus, Job Ability Development Training includes not only
the training program but also the process of the training,
development of media, research, support of facilities and all other
relevant activities.
Here, the vocational training system in Korea is described by
examining Major Institutions and Policies, Implementation Systems
and considerations. The section of Major Institutions and Policies
introduces in-service training, SME-specific training, training for
the unemployed, strategic area training and loan systems for
training

expenses.

relevant

legislation,

The

implementation

finances

and

system

delivery

touches

systems.

upon
Lastly,

challenges to maintain Koreas current vocational training system


are mentioned in consideration.

72

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2. Development Process

A. Introduction and Settlement (1960s1970s)


The 1960s and 1970s were the period of introduction and
settlement of the vocational training system. The system began
implementation officially once the Vocational Training Act was
passed on January 17, 1967. Although there were some functions
to secure skilled workforce including small scale apprenticeships
and other vocational guidance facilities, they were insufficient to
cover the demand for an industrial workforce to lead the nations
economic growth in both terms of quantity and quality.
Government subsidies were provided for corporate vocational
training

according

to

the Vocational

Training Act

and the

Obligation System of In-Service Training (or Training Levy


System) which was introduced as the Basic Vocational Training
Act passed in 1976. According to the Act, companies are
obligated to provide training systems for certain groups of
employees or bear an applicable share of the expenses. The Act
was a measure to promote businesses interests and investment in
manpower training.
In addition, the Korean government eased the financial burden
for facilities and equipment (hardware) by utilizing financing
programs of international organizations to secure public facilities
for vocational training in the 1960s and 1970s. The government
also addressed the technical aspects (software) by utilizing grants

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

73

and loans. The Korean Vocational Training Center was established


in 1972 to serve a role training instructors.

B. Development (1980s)
The vocational training system was enhanced in terms of its
quality as the necessity of in-service training was recognized
although the demand for workforce training decreased as a result
of the oil shocks in the early 1980s. In the late 1980s, more
importance was placed on in-service vocational training systems
for employees to support stable growth rather than a workforce
provision led by the government to achieve rapid economic
growth in the 1970s. General infrastructures were established
during this time. For instance, the Korea Vocational Training and
Management (currently, Human Resources Development Service of
Korea) was established in 1982 to integrate public vocational
training facilities which used to be run individually, and the
Vocational Training Center for Women and Vocational Training
Center for People with Disabilities in Ilsan were established to
provide more opportunities of vocational training for those who
are socially disadvantaged.

74

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure

- 1] Vocational Training of Korea During the 2nd to 7th


National Economic Development Plans

Source: Vocational Competency Development Program Report of


Ministry of Employment and Labor - On the year basis

Although

the vocational

training

system

was

strategically

adjusted to reflect economic and social changes, the advantages of


in-service training that utilizes existing manufacturing facilities and
equipment were not broadly recognized. Most companies chose to
pay the expense rather than to implement in-service training. Some
point out that the charges paid by the companies were the actual
source of finance for various vocational programs. However, it
was inevitable for the Korean government to adopt the Obligation
System of In-Service Training to secure a technical workforce in
the process of the nations economic development and the system
has trained and provided around 2.5 million skilled workers during
the time of industrialization over the past 30 years (Refer to
[Figure III-1]).

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

75

C. Turning Point (1990s)


Although Koreas unemployment rate once recorded 2.4%
which was close to full employment from the late 1980s to the
mid-1990s prior to the Asian Financial Crisis, internal and external
social and economic environment was rapidly changing. Service
industrialization accelerated and the demand for top-level human
resources started to increase. To deal with the situation, public
vocational training institutions were reorganized and integrated into
Polytechnic Colleges (currently, Korea Polytechnic Colleges), and
the public vocational training institute (Human Resource Development
Institute of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry) led by
public economic organizations was established. The government
abolished the Obligation System of In-Service Training and
integrated it into the Employment Insurance System (Vocational
Competency Development Program of Employment Insurance).
The Asian Financial Crisis had served as momentum to move
the center of Koreas vocational training system. Large scale
training programs were provided to 330,000 people who lost their
jobs.
Financial stability of the new employment insurance system
shed light on the importance of the efficiency and results of
vocational

training

systems.

At

that point, the system was

recognized as the most effective social safety net to decrease


unemployment

and guarantee

lifetime employability

for

all

workers including those who are already employed and the


vulnerable workers.

76

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

D. Innovation (after 2000)


It is noted that after integration of employment insurance into
the job skill development program, the requirements of business
owners who were the main source of finances were reflected in a
considerable number of vocational training programs. As a result
the in-service training was strengthened.
Although the necessity of employer-provided training was fully
recognized, business owners and workers still needed an innovative
strategy to address constraints of time, money and space. To this
end, employee-directed training in which the expense of training
is directly paid to workers of SMEs and irregular workers who
have limited accessibility to training programs was newly adopted
in the 2000s. In addition, programs were introduced to support the
building of infrastructure including an SMEs learning organization
and consortia.
The training account system named Naeil Baeum Card System
(Learn for Tomorrow Card System) is the most innovative
function. This training account system introduced in 2011 differs
from the former one which was led by a consignment institute.
The system is designed to enable the unemployed to select
suitable training courses after a training consultation. <Table -1>
shows how the vocational training system in each economic
development stage has changed.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

<Table

77

- 1> Changes in Vocational Training System at Each


Economic Development Phase

Classification

Phase of
Economic
Development
of Korea

1960s

1970s

1st, 2nd
5-Year
Economic
Developme
-nt Plan

th

Economic
$80
Indicator (per
capita in come)
Legislation
and
Amendment

After Employment
Insurance system

Before Employment
Insurance system

Vocational
Training
Act
(legislated
in 1967)

1980s
th

1990s

3rd, 4

5th, 6

focused on
heavy
chemical
industry,
rapid
economic
growth

autonomou
s and open Low
economic
unemployplateau
ment rate

$254
$1,676

$1,645
$5,418

$6,417
$9,438

$10,841
$20,000

Act on the
Special
Measures
for
Vocational
Training
(1974)

4th
amendment
of Basic
Vocational
Training
Act (1987)

Employment
Insurance
Act (1995)

Workers
Vocational
Skills
Development Act
(2004)

Basic
Vocational
Training
Act (1976)
Vocational
Training
Promotion
Fund
Act(1976)

Moderate
growth

200s

Financial
crisis in
1997

Vocational
Training
Promotion
Act
(1999))

Entered
the global
market
Nations
economic
growth rate
decreased

78

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Change in
human
resource
demand
and
countermeasure

Demand
for simple
technicians
increased
as the
nation
transforme
d from an
agricultural
based
country to
the light
industry
society
->To
secure
workforce
focused on
school
education,
To
establish
vocational
training
system, To
introduce
the subsidy
system for
vocational
training

Demand
for
technical
workforce
increased
as the
nations
economy
turned to
heavy
chemical
industry
Serious
technical
manpower
shortage ->
Unlimited
supply of
unskilled
workforce
due to rural
exodus,
Vocational
high
schools,
Expansion
of public
vocational
training
program,
Obligation
of
vocational
training,
Training
Levy
System

Source: Ra, Young-Sun et al. 2010.

Demand
for
vocational
training in
the project
decreased;
enhanced
public
vocational
training:
Korea
Vocational
Training
and
Manageme
nt(1982),
New
courses for
advanced
vocational
training
(master
craftsman
course)

Number of
new
workers
decreased,
technical
level of
existing
workers
increased,
and
demand
grew ->
Voluntary
vocational
training of
business
owners
induced;
Training
served as a
social
safety net
for the
unemployed

Flexible
labor
market,
Lifelong
vocational
competency
developmen
t system,
Enhanced
training for
the
socially
disadvantag
ed

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

79

3. Major Institutions and Policies

A. In-Service Training
There are three types of support for in-service training which
help trainees learn and enhance job competency. The first is
support for the business owner who has established necessary
training courses for its employees by financing the training from
the Employment Insurance Fund. The training is thus called
training funded by refunded money of employment insurance or
employer-provided training. The second is employee-directed
training in which the training expenses are directly provided to
employees. Support Fund for Enhancement of Employees Job
Competency and Naeil Baeum Card are examples of in-service
training programs. Finally, the third is SME-specific training
provided only for employees and owners of SMEs.
(1) Employer-Provided Training for Employees
The employer-provided training for employees is financed by
employment insurance. Employers provide the training to their
employees

and

those

productivity. There are

who

will

be

employed

to

improve

various forms of employer-provided

training: collective training, on-the-job training or remote training


(via internet or mail) that can be implemented directly by
employers

or

via

consignment

to

training

institutions.

The

collective training, for instance, shall be implemented for at least

80

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2 days or 16 hours.
Part of the training expense is refunded by employment
insurance. SMEs are given preference in terms of the training
expense support ratio and the support fund limit considering the
difficulty

of

conducting voluntary

training

programs

due

to

unfavorable operation conditions or risk of disruption to business.


<Table -2> shows the statistics of employer-provided training
for employees based on the size of businesses which implemented
the training in 2011. It suggests that large size businesses with
300 or more employees are more likely to conduct the training
(businesses with 300 or more employees: 54.0%, businesses with
fewer than 300 employees: 46.0%). The most frequent types of
businesses which conducted the training were in the education
service (30.6%), manufacturing

(28.9%) and business

service

(10.3%) sectors. The number of training programs conducted


suggests that employees in the manufacturing (34.1%), education
service (20.0%) and financial, insurance and real estate (14.3%)
industries participate in the training most actively in the order
listed.

81

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

<Table

- 2> Status of Employer-Provided Training for


Employees by the Corporate Size(excluding
training under paid-leave)
(unit: persons, KRW, MN)
2010

Classification
Number of
Trainees
Amount of
Support Fund

Total

Fewer
than 300

2011
300 or
more

Total

Fewer
than 300

300 or
more

3,764,139 1,487,940 2,276,199 3,004,691 1,374,532 1,630,159


346,763

142,202

204,560

284,890

129,425

155,466

Source: Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and


Labor 2012.

(2) Training under Paid-Leave Supported by Business Owner


The training under paid-leave supports business owners who
give its employees paid leave for mid and long term education
and training. The business owners are reimbursed for the expenses
and wages of participants of the training programs.
Seven or more days of paid leave is given to the business
owner of a company eligible for the support or businesses with
fewer than 150 employees. Part of the training expense and the
wage of participants are provided when the training of 30 hours
or longer is conducted. Some portion of wage to hire substitute
workers as well as the training expense and the wage of
participating employees are offered when a training program of

82

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

120 hours or longer is provided with paid leave of 30 days or


more.
<Table

-3>

shows

the

details

of

the

training

under

paid-leave based on the size of the business. The larger the


business, the more workers participated in training programs. Since
2009, however, the participation of SMEs has increased as SMEs
have received more support than large companies. Industries which
show active participation in the training under paid-leave are the
manufacturing, financial, insurance, real estate and construction
industries.
<Table

- 3> Details of the Training Under Paid-leave by the


Corporate Business (December 2011)
(Unit : Number of cases, %)
Number of Trainees

Year

Support Fund
(KRW, MN)

Total

Fewer than 300

300 or more

2008

15,071

9,324(100.0)

3,330(35.7)

5,994(64.3)

2009

15,320

13,294(100.0)

8,574(64.5)

4,720(35.5)

2010

10,951

10,873(100.0)

7,828(72.0)

3,045(28.0)

2011

11,505

11,257(100.0)

7,764(69.0)

3,493(31.0)

Source: Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and


Labor 2012.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

83

(3) Support Fund for Enhancement of Employees Job


Competency and Naeil Baeum Card system (Learn for
Tomorrow Card system)
The Support

Fund

for

Enhancement

of

Employees

Job

Competency and the Naeil Baeum Card system (Learn for


Tomorrow Card system) are the programs which reimburse the
expense of training programs provided for vulnerable groups in
terms

of

employment

who

have

less

accessibility

to

employer-provided training. (Refer to <Table III-4>)


The Naeil Baeum Card system helps irregular workers and
those who are scheduled to change jobs within 90 days or had
been on an unpaid leave of absence for 90 days or more for
managerial reasons. The number of participants in the program has
rapidly increased from 7,638 in 2007 to 129,451 in 2011.
Expensive training courses can also be provided since the limit of
annual support is up to KRW2million.
The Support Fund for Enhancement of Employees Job
Competency

program

is

provided

mainly

for

short-term,

dispatched, part-time, daily workers and SME employees as well


as the self-employed who are voluntary employment insurance
holders. The limit of support is KRW1million per year which is
less than 80% and 50% of the tuition fee for general in-service
education and foreign language training, respectively. The number
of trainees of these programs has quadrupled from 38,908 in 2004
to 162,922 in 2011 as interests in self-directed learning have
increased.

84

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 4> Comparicon of Employee-directed Training


Naeil Baeum Card system

Support Fund for Enhancement


of Employees Job
Competency

Target

Short-term, dispatched, part-time, and


daily workers,
Employees of priority support
Those who are scheduled to change companies, irregular workers,
jobs within 90 days,
self-employed voluntary
Those who had been on unpaid leave insurance holders
or absence for 90 days or more

Limit of
Support

KRW2MN/year, KRW3MN/5 years


(Total of the two types of support
funds)

KRW1MN/year, KRW3MN/5
years

Support
Amount

The Ministry of Employment and


Labor directly support to training
institutions within the support limit
of 80~60% of actual tuition fee
(collective: 20%, foreign language:
50%)

Employees bear the training


fee first and then 50~100% of
the fee reimbursed after the
completion of the program.

Training
Course

Courses of more than 2 days


Courses of more than 10 days or 40
or 16 hours authorized by the
hours authorized by the Minister of
Minister of Employment and
Employment and Labor
Labor

Source: Vocational Competency Development Program, Ministry of


Employment and Labor 2012.

<Table III-5> shows that 73.5% of the trainees who were


provided with financial support for the enhancement of job
competency was from companies with fewer than 50 employees.
This suggests that through direct support, the system provided
better

accessibility

to

vulnerable

groups

with

insufficient

opportunities for training. 52.2% of participants of the Naeil

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

85

Baeum Card system training program were from companies with


fewer than 50 employees, and 15.5% were from large companies
with more than 1,000 employees that had a large number of
irregular workers.
<Table

- 5> Status of Employee-Directed Training in 2011


(Unit : Number of cases, %)
Naeil Baeum Card system

Classification

Support Fund for


Enhancement of Employees
Job Competency

Cases

Ratio

Cases

Ratio

Total

129,451

100.0

162,992

100.0

Fewer than 50

67,559

52.2

119,782

73.5

50-150

15,382

11.9

32,547

14.4

150-300

9,974

7.7

8,993

5.5

300-500

6,945

5.4

3,447

2.1

500-1,000

9,452

7.3

2,670

1.6

1,000 or more

20,083

15.5

4,547

2.8

N/A

56

0.0

0.0

Source: Vocational Competency Development Program, Ministry of


Employment and Labor 2012.

86

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

B. SME-Specific Training
The SME-specific training is a training project which focuses
on SMEs in order to address the gap between large and mid-size
companies in terms of opportunities of training. There are four
types of consortia; the consortium for HRD ability magnified
program, SME learning organization support pProject, SME
core

competency

training

program,

and

SME

systematic

on-the-job training (introduced in 2012). The consortium for


HRD

ability

magnified

program

provides

opportunities

for

in-service training by holding a consortia for relevant SMEs, and


the SME learning organization
systematic

on-the-job

training

support project and SME


are

projects

to

support

the

necessary infrastructure for training which link the production site


and learning. The SME core competency training program
supports office clerks of SMEs who participate in advanced
training courses.
(1) Consortium for HRD Ability Magnified Program
The consortium for HRD ability magnified program has been
implemented since 2011 to address the difficulties for SMEs to
conduct vocational competency development training due to lack
of facilities and equipment.
Facilities

and

equipment

are

provided

for

in-service

enhancement training or training for prospective employees within


the limit of KRW1.5 billion (80% of projected cost) per year and

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

87

operating expenses are provided within the limit of KRW400


million per year (100% of the projected cost). Annual limits to
support project development are KRW100 million (100% of the
projected cost).
[Figure III-2] suggests that 251,895 employees from 30,796
SMEs participated in the training as of 2011.
[Figure

- 2] Status of the Consortia for HRD Ability Magnified


Program
(Unit: Number of places, 1,000persons)
Operation Institutions

150

Participating SMEs

No. of Trainees

300

125

250

100

200

75

150

50

100

25

50

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09

'10

'11

Source: Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and


Labor 2012.

88

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

(2) SME Learning Organization Support Project


The SME learning organization support project is a project that
builds infrastructure for SMEs learning activities in order to
enable SMEs to accumulate vocational knowledge and know-how.
SMEs

are

faced

with

challenges

including

lack

of

infrastructure, risk of disruption to business and production to


implement formal training programs. Furthermore, SMEs tend to
avoid the outflow of their skilled technologies and skills are
developed within the workplace. Therefore,

SMEs have high

interest in firm-specific skills. Against this backdrop, this project


has been implemented since 2006 to support SMEs so that they
can train their skilled workers within their places of business by
linking learning and business.
334 SMEs participated in the SME Learning Organization
Support Project in 2011 with 1,751 learning groups which
facilitated the learning foundation of SMEs. The most frequently
utilized types of support in 2011 were learning group activities
(mandatory), securing space for learning, outstanding learning
activities, outside advisory and learning network respectively.
Companies that implement the learning organization program
after consulting with labor representatives can be selected as
priority support companies via contest.

Details of the support are

described in <Table III-6>. The support period is one year in


principle, but can be extended by up to three years depending on
the project achievement assessment results.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

<Table

89

- 6> Details and conditions of the SME Learning


Organization Support Project

Support
Type

Support
for
Learning
Group
Activities

Support
for
Outstand-i
ng
Learning
Activities

Support
for
Learning
Network

Conditions

Details

To provide support for


Limited to KRW 20MN
learning activities related to
per company
job performance and
Management cost of
improvement of management
learning groups
achievements
Education cost of CEOs,
- To support up to 8 groups
group leaders, and
- Period : More than 6
learning leaders
months
Activity allowance for
- Learning group regular
learning leaders (1 person
meeting: at least twice a
per company)
month
To provide support in case of
rewarding based on assessment
of the learning activity result
(proposal of outstanding ideas,
participants with outstanding
knowledge score or competition
winners, etc.)

Limited to KRW8MN per


company
Award companies that won
prizes in learning activity
competitions (KRW4MN)
Award winners of
competition among
in-house learning groups

To provide support companies


participating in SME learning
organization project and
establishing learning network to
share best practices

Limited to KRW1MN per


company (KRW500,000 for
voluntarily participating
companies)

Support
To provide support for outside
for Outside advice necessary for learning
organization
Experts

Limited to KRW6MN per


company

Source: Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and


Labor 2012.

90

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

(3) SME Core Competency Training Program


The SME core competency training program provides advanced
courses of outstanding training institutions to business owners and
employees of priority support SMEs. The program supports the
companies by providing employee wages for those who participate
in the training (minimum wage per hour multiplied by training
hours) and offers training expenses to training institutions (directly
without a separate payment process for all participants that
completed the course). The entire amount of actual training
expense is paid for by the program.
The program is divided into a general course and a specialized
course depending on the nature and level of the training course. The
Minister of Employment and Labor (Human Resources Development
Service of Korea) selects core competency training programs through a
contest. 172 programs were proposed in the contest by 52 institutions
in 9 training sectors (strategic management, HR and organization
management, sales and marketing, distribution and logistics, accounting,
HRD and leadership, production and quality management, manufacturing
technology and technology management and R&D). 33,654 employees
of SMEs participated in the training in 2011 and those SMEs were
provided with actual training expenses and wages for their workers.
(4) SME Systematic On-the-Job Training
The SME systematic on-the-Job training is a newly adopted
project in 2012 which provides infrastructure necessary for SMEs

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

who

are

short

of

programs,

instructors

and

other

91

related

infrastructure.
The target of the training is priority support for SMEs. Trainer
education,

job

analysis,

module

development,

training

implementation, assessment and outside advisory are supported by


the program within the limit of KRW7million per company.
Details of support for Systematic On-the-Job Training of SMEs
are described in <Table III-7>.

<Table

- 7> Details of SME Systematic On-the-Job Training


Support

Support Type

Details of Support

Education Expense

Limited to KRW 2MN : Educational and personnel


costs to hire trainers and managers of
corporation-led courses and voluntary courses

Job Analysis/
Module Development

Limited to KRW 3MN: Training plan/Job analysis


benefit, module development cost, cost for printing
and purchasing teaching materials, cost to hire
trainers

Implementation of
Limited to KRW 3MN: personnel expenses to hire
On-the-job Training
trainers
and Assessment
Outside Experts

Limited to KRW 2MN

Source: Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and Labor 2012.

92

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

C. Training for the Unemployed

The purpose of the training for the unemployed is to promote


outplacement by supporting acquirement skills by unemployed
people looking for a job.
Since

2011,

all

training

for

the

unemployed

has

been

conducted under the Naeil Baeum Card System. A few years ago,
the mainstream was the "trainee assignment system", in which the
vocational training for the unemployed was entrusted to private
institutions and training expenses were provided

retroactively.

However, from 2011, the process of providing training expenses


was unified into the training account system (Naeil Baeum Card
System) where the expenses are given directly to the recipients
account.
The process and details from training application to registration
is as follows: to visit a job center with jurisdiction over where a
person lives to register for a job application (two opportunities
for outplacement activities, watching training videos, searching for
training processes) to consult on training to prepare a
personal training plan to issue a Naeil Baeum Card to issue
a card (credit card and debit card) to receive a Naeil Baeum
Card to apply for training to pay for the trainee's share out
of the training expense to participate in training (Refer to
[Figure III-3]).
Training institutions or eligible training programs accredited by
the government (The Ministry of Employment and Labor) are
introduced by job centers under regional labor offices or are

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

93

found in the job training network.


The number of eligible training programs that were accredited
is 529 in 2008, 4,280 in 2009, 13,668 in 2009, and 9,068 in
2010 respectively. Compared to the existing consignment training,
the range of choice for trainees has expanded to around 20,000
eligible training programs in 2011. The government accredited
6,810 programs in 2011 out of 14,654 programs applied, so
eligible training programs that trainees can participate in grew to
17,000 in 2012.

[Figure

- 3] Process of the Naeil Baeum Card training for the


Unemployed

Source: Policies on Employment and Labor (in a Book), Ministry of


Employment and Labor 2012.

94

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

The

unemployed

can

choose

proper

training

programs

according to their characteristics and whether they are covered by


unemployment insurance or not. Details are listed below.
(1) Training for the Unemployed with and without an
Unemployment Insurance Record
An unemployed person who registered at an employment
security agency for job-search can apply for the training of the
Naeil Baeum Card System whether he has an unemployment
insurance record or not.
At

this

time,

the

unemployed

person

should

have

consultation at a job center to verify the necessity of job training


and to discuss and select a kind of training related to his targeted
job field. After that, a vocational competency development account
(Naeil Baeum Card) is issued for him. Training programs that the
person

can

participate

in

using

the

account

are only

the

"appropriate training courses" accredited and announced by the


Ministry of Employment and Labor.
KRW 2million is the maximum amount provided per person for
training expenses. A trainee should cover 25~45% of the total
training expenses to ensure careful consideration in the selection of
a training program and genuine effort and participation are applied.
There are changes in preference for jobs on a yearly basis. As
shown in

<Table III-8>,

however,

jobs related to business

management/ accounting/ office work, food service, and culture/


arts/ design/ broadcasting areas are the most popular jobs among

95

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

367,656 trainees as of late December 2011. Job preferences under


the consignment training system in the past differed from the
current one. In the past, four areas of service, office work,
info-communications, and mechanical equipment were the most
popular fields with a concentration of 70% of trainees. Under the
past consignment system, the training was conducted over a long
period of time consisting of six months to one year. However, the
training period is usually four-five months (average training days:
51.25 days) under the training account system.
<Table

- 8> Job Status of the Training for the Unemployed


(Training of Naeil Baeum Card System)
(December2011)
(Unit : Person)
Unemployed
with an
Unemployment
Insurance
Record

Unemployed
without an
Unemployment
Insurance
Record

Areas

Total

Total

367,656

279,733

87,923

Administrative work

348

240

108

Management, accounting, office


work

376,014

294,636

81,378

Work related to education and


study on natural science/social
science

4,206

3,315

891

465

345

120

38,835

27,567

11,268

Work related to law, police,


fire-fighting, and prison governing
Work related to health and
medicine

96

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Work related to social welfare and


religion

23,460

18,525

4,935

Work related to couture, arts,


design, and broadcasting

206,709

160,575

46,134

Work related to driving and


transportation

10,134

9,045

1,089

3,501

2,841

660

675

357

318

81,432

52,443

28,989

Work related to food service

186,294

134,745

51,549

Work related to construction

26,469

22,338

4,131

Work related to machine

15,495

12,285

3,210

Work related to materials (metal,


glass, clay, and cement)

9,996

8,787

1,209

Work related to chemicals

1,083

1,035

48

Work related to textile and garment

23,415

17,724

5,691

Work related to electricity and


electronics

18,081

15,540

2,541

Work related to info-communication

27,321

20,742

6,579

Work related to food processing

29,301

20,862

8,439

Work related to environment,


printing, timber, furniture, crafts,
and simple manufacturing

16,470

12,525

3,945

Work related to sales


Work related to security and
cleaning
Work related to beauty,
accommodation, and sports

Work related to agriculture and


3,264
2,727
537
fishery
KECO criteria was applied to classify training areas.
Source: Status of Job Skill Development Program, Ministry of Employment
and Labor 2012.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

97

(2) Training for the Unemployed in Agricultural and Fishing Areas


An unemployed person in the agricultural or fishing industries
and his family can apply for vocational training regardless of
coverage of unemployment insurance. After applying for training
programs at his local administrative body (office of the city,
district, county, and town) with jurisdiction over where he lives
and registering for a job-search, he receives a training consultation
to determine the proper training institution and course. Then he
can

choose the institution

and

course,

submit

the required

documents to apply, and participate in the course. The city,


district, or county office with jurisdiction over the person's
registered address selects trainees with consideration to age,
number of family members to support, job-searching activities,
willingness to be trained, aptitude, and more via the training
consultation. The local administrative body entrusts trainees to
training institutions with courses that trainees are interested in.
The training period varies from one month to one year (over 60
hours) and trainees can participate in training programs up to
three times before getting a job. During the training period,
KRW50,000

in transportation fees and KRW66,000 in food

expenses are provided to trainees.

98

Vocational Education and Training in Korea

(3) Specialized Training for the Vulnerable Groups


The

specialized

training

for

the

vulnerable

groups

was

established for the first time in 2011 as a customized and


exclusive
Trainees

training
in

course

for

the specialized

socially

disadvantaged

classes.

training program receive up

to

KRW3million in actual training expenses, which is higher than the


expenses provided from the general Naeil Baeum Card system.
Those who participate in the support project for Successful
Employment Package (confined to families with incomes at or
below 150 % of the poverty level, North Korean refugees,
marriage-based immigrants, and the youth at risk) can also enjoy
the benefit of the specialized training. Up to KRW116,000 in
training incentives are offered monthly and the available period of
the account is one year after issuance.
The vulnerable groups eligible for the specialized training are
shown in <Table III-9>. Especially for North Korean refugees and
marriage-based immigrants who have difficulties in participating in
training programs because of

language and culture differences,

customized and comprehensive services such as basic adjustment


training, Korean lessons, etc. are provided.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

<Table

99

- 9> Target of Specialized Training for the Vulnerable


Group and Qualifying Conditions

Target

Condition

Women
breadwinner

Women who are in charge of her family's


livelihood

Self-employed
micro-business

Business owners with less than KRW80million in


annual sales (KRW48million in some jobs) or
business owners who receive credit repair support
from the Credit Counselling & Recovery Service
(Real estate agents are excluded from the training)

North Korean
refugees

North Korean defectors under the Act on the


Protection and Settlement Support of Residents
Escaping from North Korea

Marriage-based
immigrants

Foreigners living in Korea who were once or are


married to Korean citizens and foreigners who are
permitted naturalized through "marriage" with Koreans
based on the Article 4 of the Nationality Act

Recipients of
national basic
livelihood
benefits

Recipients of support for employment and skill


acquisition among people receiving the living
wage or self-support wage under the National
Basic Living Security Act

Daily
construction
workers

Daily construction workers participating in the


Successful Employment Package project

Potential
employees in
SMEs

Unemployed people who want to work in SMEs


and sign a "training agreement" with the Small
and Medium Business Administration or
supporting businesses

Source: Status of Job Skill Development Program, Ministry of


Employment and Labor 2012.

100 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

D. Training in Strategic Areas


The purpose of training in strategic areas is that the country
takes the lead in the fostering and supplying of professionals at
various levels for national keystrategic industries, growth-engine
industries, areas lacking manpower, and other strategic areas.
(1) TechnicalSkilled Manpower Training
The technicalskilled

manpower

training

aims

at

nurturing

mid-level experts such as technicians, craftsmen, and more. for


national key projects and new industries that the private sector
cannot take part in.
As
training

shown

<Table III-10>,

programs

of

the technicalskilled

Polytechnic

colleges,

the

manpower

representative

training institution, are divided as follows: two year technician


training courses (the mid and high level experts) and one year
craftsman training courses (mid-level experts). 11 universities
including Korea Polytechnic Colleges I (in 39 campuses) produce
15,155 technicians and 6,530 craftsmen annually. The master
craftsman training course is operated in three colleges, which
produce 325 master craftsmen in each year.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

<Table

101

- 10> Major Training Courses in Korea Polytechnic


Colleges

Classification

Technician training course

Period

2years (day and evening classes,


only day classes in some
colleges)

1year (day classes), 6months


(evening classes)

High school graduates and


graduate-to-be

Unemployed people aged 15


and over
3rd grade students in general
high school that will not go
to college

Admission

High school grade point


average, SAT, interview, etc.

Document screening and


interview

Privileges for
trainees

-Industrial associate's degree


granted at graduation
(equivalent to junior college
graduates)
- Qualified to apply for the
industrial engineer test of the
National Technical
Qualification
-Dormitory provided to
all-comers
-Military service postponed
during the course

Free dormitory, training, food,


etc. provided by the nation
Written test for the National
Technical Qualification
(craftsman) exempted and job
referral service provided
KRW200,000 in training
allowance for jobs in national
keystrategic industries
KRW50,000 in transportation
fee

Qualification

Craftsman training course

Source: Status of Job Skill Development Program, Ministry of Employment


and Labor 2012.

(2) Training for Jobs in National KeyStrategic Industries


The training for jobs in national keystrategic industries is a
course to foster highly skilled manpower for jobs that are short of

102 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

human resources and have the potential to increase demand for


industrial field workers (jobs related to new growth engine and
strategic industries such as

the green industry, a future promising

industry) in national keystrategic industries. The government


entrusts the training to private institutions. [Figure III-4] shows the
trend of the training.
In 2011, a total of 102 jobs were selected and announced for
the

training.

Jobs

bio-pharmaceutical,

related

game

to

contents,

logistic
3D

management,

convergence,

image

production, environmentally-friendly construction, plant construction,


U-city, LED systems, digital convergence, and numerical forecasts
were placed in the category of new jobs. 91 jobs including plant
facility jobs were allocated to the general job category and 39
jobs such as photovoltaic generating facility jobs were designated
to the jobs related new growth engine category.
The target of the training jobs in national keystrategic
industries is the unemployed aged 15 and over who registered for
job-searches and 3rd grade students in

general high schools that

will not go to college. All expenses for training, meals, and


transportation are offered. The training period varies from three
months
Chamber

(350hours)
of

to

Commerce

12

months

and

(1,400hours).

Industry,

private

The
job

Korea
training

institutions, universities, and employers' organizations provides the


training programs.
The employment rate of trainees who completed the training is
80%, which is an outstanding achievement in the labor market.
Most of the employees work in small sized companies with 49 or

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

103

fewer workers. Therefore this training program has contributed


remarkably to handling of labor shortage in SMEs.
[Figure

- 4] Trend in the Training Jobs in National KeyStrategic


Industries (2007-2011)
Funding

No. of Persons

180000

30000

160000

25000

140000
120000

20000

100000

15000

80000
60000

10000

40000

5000

20000
0

0
'07

'08

'09

'10

'11

Source: Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and Labor


Employment 2012.

(3) Training for Professional Manpower


Vocational training systems to foster highly skilled manpower
in Korea are mainly managed by the Ministry of Employment and
Labor. However, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the
Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Ministry of Education and
Science, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of

104 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of


Environment, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime
Affairs, the Small and Medium Business Administration, the
Financial Services Commission, and the Korea Communications
Commission implement small but various programs to develop
professional workers.
Those national bodies operate courses to foster mid and high
level professionals in industries and jobs relevant to their to
concern. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture has the "food
expert program", the Ministry of Health and Welfare has the
"clinical test expert program", and the Korea Communications
Commission has the "radio broadcasting technician program".
According to the government's policy to combine and unify
manpower cultivation programs, some programs were integrated
into the training for jobs in national keystrategic industries and
the Consortium for HRD Ability Magnified Program. As of 2011,
36 programs are in operation as the professional manpower
training program under other ministries aside from the Ministry of
Employment and Labor.
Types of professional manpower training are described as
follows: specialized graduate school (i.e. Graduate School of
Specialization to Specify Climate Change operated by the Ministry
of Environment), the employment-linked training for non-employed
junior college or university graduates (i.e. the Energy Expert
Program by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy), and the
in-service training (i.e. Korean Academy of Film Arts by the
Ministry of Culture and Tourism).

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

105

E. Loan System of Training Expense


(1) Loans for Training ExpenseTuition Fees for Workers
An employed person who is covered by employment insurance
and attends vocational college, Cyber University, or school above
junior college can get a loan for tuition. As shown in [Figure
III-5], employees seeking self-improvement through both work and
study has increased from 2002 to 2010. As a result, the number
of loans and borrowers has gradually expanded. As of 2011, a
total of 21,507 workers have received the loans.
[Figure

- 5] Status of Loans for Training ExpenseTuition Fee


for Workers by Year (2003-2011)
No. of Borrowers

Amount of Loans

120000000

35000

100000000

30000
25000

80000000

20000
60000000
15000
40000000

10000

20000000

5000

0
'03

'04

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09

'10

'11

Source: Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and Labor


Employment 2012.

106 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

(2) Loans for Training FacilityEquipment Expenses


The loan system grants credit at a low interest rate over a
long term to employers and training institutions to support them in
establishing training facilities or buying training equipment.
As part of the selection process for the loan, an institution that
applies for a small loan and will use the money for a relatively
short-period will receive preference. Priority is put on SMEs for
loans and large companies and training institutions are next in line.
The loan limit training equipment per institution is KRW6billion
and the annual limit per institution is KRW2billion. Limits are in
place to prevent a concentration of loans for only a limited
number of institutions. According to the establishment of annual
limits and encouragement for small investment, the number of
institutions that have received loans has increased to 13 in 2011.
(3) Living Expense Loans for Vocational Training
The living expense loans for vocational training began in 2009.
The purpose was to help unemployed and irregular workers focus
on training by alleviating financial burdens that they might have
when they participate in long-term vocational training.
The loan is provided only when a person participates in a
training program supported by the Ministry of Employment and
Labor for four weeks or more. Irregular workers with an annual
income of KRW24million or less and the unemployed with an
unemployment

insurance

record

and

annual

income

of

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

107

KRW40million (including the spouse's income) are eligible to


apply for the loan. The loan limit per month is KRW1million (a
total of KRW3million for irregular workers and a total of
KRW6million for the unemployed) and the annual interest rate is
1%. A trainee can defer the loan for up to three years and then,
pay back the money in installments over a maximum of five
years. When a trainee applies for a loan from the Korea Worker's
Compensation and Welfare Service, the service evaluates and
informs them of their loan approval. Then, the trainee and a
financial institution sign a loan agreement and the money is
granted from the financial institution to the trainee. As of 2010,
the number of loans is on the rise with 6,310 current borrowers.

4. Implementation System

A. Related Legislation and Finance


(1) Legislation
The following are acts related to job skill development
programs: the Workers Vocational Skills Development Act, the
Employment Insurance Act, the National Technical Qualification
Act, the Promotion of Skilled Technology Act, the Act on the

108 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Human Resources Development Service of Korea, etc. Among


them, the Workers Vocational Skills Development Act is the
foundation of vocational training policies as a fundamental law.
The Employment Insurance Act stipulates the financial affairs of
the training programs. The main aspect of each act is as listed as
follows. (Refer to <Table III-11>).
<Table

- 11> Legislations on Vocational Training in Korea

Classification

Description

Workers Vocational Skills


Development Act
(Enacted in Dec. 24, 1997,
Revised on Feb. 1,2012)

To stipulate overall matters on vocational skill


development training
- Training facilities, accreditation and evaluation of
training processes, etc.

Employment Insurance Act


(Enacted in Dec. 27, 1993,
Revised on June 4, 2010)

To regulate matters on support for job skill


development programs by employment insurance
(Training on employers, employees, the
unemployed, etc.)

To define management and operation of the


national technical qualification system
- Introduction of a training system for people with
National Technical
Qualification Act
national technical qualification, provision of basis
((Enacted in Dec. 31, 1973,
for certificate facility support, management of
Revised on May 31, 2010)
procedures for cancellation of consignment, etc.,
provision of basis for punishment against those
who lend national qualifications, etc.
Promotion of Skilled
Technology Act
((Enacted in April 1, 1989,
Revised on May 31, 2010)

To promote skilled technologies and to improve


economic and social status of skilled technicians
- Selection of Korea Master Hands, Worldskills
Korea, Vocational Olympics, Incentive for
continuous work as master hands

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

Act on the Human Resources


Development Service of
Korea
((Enacted in Dec. 31, 1981,
Revised on June 4, 2010)

109

Applicable act for establishment of the Human


Resources Development Service of Korea
- Major functions: training support, qualification
certificate, skill promotions, etc.
- Other officials, BOD, regulation on guidance
and supervision of work, etc.

Source: Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment and Labor


Employment 2012.

(2) Finance
Funds for vocational training are raised from general accounts
and

the unemployment

insurance

fund.

Funds

from general

accounts are mainly used to nurture skilled manpower and to train


new unemployed people and vulnerable groups. Money from the
unemployment insurance fund is injected to support employers
who operate employee training programs, specialized training for
SMEs, employee training programs, employee-directed training, and
training programs for the unemployed with an unemployment
insurance record.
Employers and workers (the insured) pay for unemployment
benefits and the employment insurance fund which supports two
projects of employment stabilization and job skill development
programs. Accounts for the two funds are separated. Employers
pay all premiums for the employment stabilization and vocational
ability development project insurance (0.25%~ 0.85% of total
wages in the previous year according to business size) and labor
and management pay half of the premiums for the unemployment

110 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

insurance

(1.1%).

As

of

2011,

1,508,669

companies

with

10,675,437 employees were covered by the unemployment benefit


and the employment insurance. The total budget for job skill
development programs in 2011 amounted to KRW1.55trillion and
80% of the budget came from the employment insurance fund.
Therefore, job skill development programs in Korea mainly depend
on the employment insurance fund paid by employers. (Refer to
<Table III-12>)
<Table

- 12> Status of Accounting of Job Skill Development


Program Fund (2011)
Amount
(KRW
100MN)

General
Accounts

2,992

Ratio
(%)

Major Programs

19.2

Naeil Baeum Card System training, training for


local unemployed people including farmers and
fishermen, specialized training for the vulnerable
group, Korean Polytechnic Colleges, cultivation of
training instructors
Employer-provided
training,
training
under
paid-leave, support fund for enhancement of
employees Job competency, Naeil Baeum Card
System training for the employed, SME-specific
training, strategic area training, loans for training
expenses/tuition fee, loans for living expenses, job
channel(TV), etc.

Employment
Insurance
Fund

12,579

80.8

Total

15,571

100.0

Source: Key Statistics on Vocational Ability Development, Internal Data


of the Vocational Skills Development Policy Division in the
Ministry of Employment and Labor 2011.

111

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

B. Delivery System
(1) Administrative Organization
When the Vocational Training Promotion Act was established
in the 1960s, the responsible department of vocational training
projects was the vocational training officials' division of the
Ministry

of

Employment

and

Labor

(formerly

Labor

Administration). After several organization reforms, as of 2012, the


Vocational

Skills

Development

Policy

Division

and

three

departments under the division are in charge of the vocational


training

system

in

Korea.

The

division

establishes

overall

vocational ability development policies and operates public training


institutions.

The

Vocational

Skills

Evaluation

Division

is

responsible for policies on national technical qualifications and


skilled technology promotion. The Human Resources Development
Division

takes

charge

of

policies

to

support

the

ability

development of workers, SMEs, and companies and training


policies for the unemployed.
Those

central

organizations

focus

on

policy-making

and

designs, while 49 job centers, the local organizations, are in


charge of account issuance, execution of training expenses, and
management of training institutions. Currently, there are 570
vocational skill development experts in job centers and 193
consultants are working for the Naeil Baeum Card System. In
addition, the execution of training expenses for employers who
provide in-service training and support for SME-specific training

112 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

and support for training infrastructure are the responsibility of the


Human Resources Development Service of Korea.
(2) Vocational Training Institutions
Vocational training institutions are categorized into public
institutions

and

institution

is

private institutions.

Korea

Polytechnic

The representative public

Colleges

which

are

evenly

distributed across the country.


Korea

Polytechnic Colleges

conventionally

produced human

resources focusing on the traditional manufacturing industry, but


now supply about 20,000 mid-level skilled workers necessary for
the green and high-tech convergence industries. In addition to
targeting local residents and companies, the colleges conduct pilot
training and mobile training for vulnerable classes, reemployment
training for the unemployed, upgrading training for employees, life
skill training, etc. A total of 139,500 people participated in the
training and most local companies attend the enhanced training for
employees.
There are 7,014 private training institutions as of 2011
including

56

vocational

training

corporations,

874

training

institutions designated by the Ministry of Employment and Labor,


and 1,769 other academies, lifelong education facilities, and more.
(3) Institution for Vocational Training Instructors
Korea University of Technology and Education established in

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

113

1992 is the four year university entrusted to educate vocational


training

instructors.

The

purpose

is

to

produce

outstanding

vocational skill development experts (collective training teachers,


HR development experts, practical engineering experts responsible
for vocational skill development in industrial fields) who are in
charge

of

education

and

training

for

skilled

workers.

The

university not only fosters and produces training teachers but also
provides short-term courses for training teacher (license and
improvement courses), graduate courses, and advanced courses for
vocational skill development experts.
The

university

has

six

colleges,

17

majors,

and

three

departments as of 2010 and produces 900 teachers annually. The


six colleges are the School of Architectural Engineering, School of
Mechanical and Information Engineering, School of Mechatronics
Engineering,

School

of

Industrial

Management,

School

of

Information and Technology Engineering, and School of Computer


Science and Engineering.
(4) TV Work Net
TV

Work

Net

is

career/employment/ability

broadcast

to

development

provide
via

24

information

on

hour-exclusive

channel.
It is meaningful that TV Work Net has a service system to
provide reliable employment information at anytime and anywhere
by connecting the Work Net (on-line) that is a job-offer and
job-search site with 30,000 visitors a day and job centers

114 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

(off-line) that provide vocational guidance, job placement, and


employment stabilization services.
The target of TV Work Net is job seekers, elementary ,
middle, and high school students, as well as university students. It
focuses on promotion of the channel via PR strategies specialized
for each viewer group. Vocational programs are broadcast for 4~5
hours through the digital board of job centers across the nation to
inform TV Work Net. In addition, local government offices, job
centers, the Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service,
and other affiliated organizations are encouraged to turn on the
channel in their lounges and PR materials are also displayed in
lounges.
(5) R&D and EvaluationStatistics
The Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and
Training (KRIVET) provides feedback on policies by
policy

studies

related to vocational

conducting

ability development

and

implementing related projects via four research labs and eight


organizations. The Human Resources Development Service of
Korea is in charge of the development of training materials and
criteria and development and dissemination of e-learning contents.
The "training institution and process evaluation" is conducted
jointly by the Ministry of Employment and Labor and KRIVET
every year to manage the quality of training programs which have
increased in quantity since the 1998 financial crisis. These
evaluation programs play a role in selecting outstanding training

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

institutions

and

weed

out

poor

institutions.

As

115

result,

competitiveness of private training institutions is strengthened.


For statistical analysis on social and economic results of
vocational training, KRIVET, the Korea Labor Institute, the Korea
Employment Information Service, and other related organizations
regularly conduct workforce and training demand studies, human
capital

corporation

panel

studies,

Korean

education

and

employment panel studies, labor panel studies, Korea youth panel


surveys, and more. They establish a database via the studies to
provide basic data for policy improvement.

5. Considerations

In general, the vocational training system in Korea is analyzed


as a best practice. However, there are some problems such as
blind spots where access to training opportunities is limited and
decreasing re-employment rates of trainees who have completed
vocational training after the system was changed to the Naeil
Baeum Card system. There are challenges to deal with for the
vocational training system to take a root as a sustainable system
in the future.
First, as employment types are diversified, the blind spot issue
is remain unsolved. Irregular workers such as temporary and
part-time workers increase rapidly, but the wages of an irregular
worker is only 33.8% of a regular worker's wages as of March

116 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2011. Plus, very few irregular workers are covered by employment


insurance. Moreover as the untypical labor (dispatch, outsourcing,
special type labor, daily labor, and home-based labor) increases, it
is difficult to implement a unified training policy. In addition, a
new training demand is created since workers under special
type-employment contracts who are not employers or employees
increase.
Second, the imbalance between manpower demand and supply
is improperly handled because the focus of vocational training is
not placed on workforce demand from industries and companies.
The Naeil Baeum Card System has produced positive results such
as the expansion of training choices for job-seekers and the
increase of the training market. However, training based on
demand

for

sufficiently

manpower
conducted.

and

training

Especially,

from
as

industries

levels

of

is

not

industrial

development and types of manpower needed are different by


region, vocational training policies are required to balance the
disparity. Training consultation is becoming systematized, but still
there is a gap between industrial workforce demand and choice of
training courses by the unemployed.
Third, employment insurance was integrated into the job skill
development program, but the integration did not attract corporate
investment in training as expected. This proves some scholars'
argument that the vocational training system still works as a
regulation against companies. However, companies have a high
dependency on the government in terms of human resource
cultivation. SMEs suffer from a lack of skilled workers and

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

117

experienced and skilled employees of SMEs are snapped up by or


move to large companies frequently. Meanwhile the necessity of
training for vulnerable groups such as irregular workers and
unemployed people is growing. Given that vocational training is
characterized as public goods, an in-depth study on the validity
and propriety of the government's intervention in the training
market is required.
Consequently, it has been evaluated that the vocational training
system in Korea has successfully reflected the industrial manpower
demand from the macroscopic viewpoint, but failed to fully deal
with future industrial structure changes such as the convergence
among sectors stemming from the advancement of industrial
structure and development of information and communications
technology. Instead of introducing policies demanded by the era at
that time, the system postpones implementation of the policies and
sticks to the old paradigm such as basic training, investment in
physical

infrastructure,

supplier-centered

perspective,

training

focusing on regulations, large company-centered training, etc. At


this juncture, innovative vocational training policies should be
actively developed to improve the effectiveness of training.
The last point to consider is the effectiveness of the Korea
vocational training model. The vocational training system was
selected as a best practice and benchmarked by many developing
countries. In the early phase of development, numerous public
vocational training facilities were established in Korea thanks to
help from international organizations and developed countries. With
the facilities developed, in a short period of time, Korea was able

118 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

to set up a system to supply outstanding manpower needed for


economic development. However, in order to make the Korean
case a development model for developing countries, it is required
to establish and implement policies differentiated based on each
country's

social

and economic

situation,

analysis

on overall

industries and the design of development strategies, and their


national circumstances.

Chapter III. Vocational Training System

119

References

Employment Insurance White Paper, Ministry of Employment


and Labor 2012
Key Statistics on Vocational Ability Development, Vocational
Skills Development Policy Division in the Ministry of
Employment and Labor 2011
Status of Job Skill Development Program, Vocational Skills
Development

Policy

Division

in

the

Ministry

of

Employment and Labor 2011


Report

on

Designation

and

Operation of

the Employment

Insurance Evaluation Center Research institute for the First


Year. Research Institute: Korea Research Institute for
Vocational

Education

and

Training,

Ministry

of

Employment and Labor 2011


Innovation

Measures

for

Lifelong

Vocational

Competency

Development System, Presidential Committee on Jobs


Strategy, Ra, Young-Sun et al. 2006
Skills

Development

Strategy

for

Poverty

Reduction

and

Sustainable Growth: Korean Case Studies, Korea Research


Institute for Vocational Education and Training,

Ra,

Young-Sun et al. 2010


2011 Modularization of Economic Development Experiences :
Vocational

Training

System

to

Nurture

Technical

Manpower, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea


Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training,

120 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Ra, Young-Sun and Kang, Soon-Hee 2011


Footprint of Korea Vocational Training System, Korea Chamber
of Commerce and Industry, Seo, Sang-Sun 2002
Transformation of Vocational Competency Development System,
Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and
Training, Chung, Taek-Soo 2008
In-depth Evaluation Report on 2010 Financial Programs: Job
Creation and Training Programs, Research Institute: Korea
Labor

Institute,

KDI

Public

&

Private

Infrastructure

Investment Management Center 2011


Government-Led Vocational Training System and Its Lessons:
In the case of South Korea before the IMF Economic
Crisis

eScolarship.

University

of

California,

Young-Sun, http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5fj1n4f

Ra,

Chapter IV.
Evaluation of Vocational Training

1. Evaluation of Training Providers


A. Grounds and Purpose of Accreditation
B. Background and Progress of Training rovider
Evaluation
C. Structure and Procedure of Evaluation
D. Evaluation Index
E. Use of Evaluation Results

126
126

126
129
130
133

2. Screening of Vocational Training Programs 135


A. Screening of Training programs under the Skills
Development Account System
135
B. Screening of Training for National Key and
Strategic Industries
147
C. Screening of Distance Training
151

3. Conclusion

161

References

162

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 123

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training

Hyeon Mi Rha5) Jae Sik Jun 6)


Hea Jung Chang7) Dong-Man Na8)

The government's accreditation system can be divided into two


categories: evaluation of the training provider, and screening of
training programs. The major difference of the two is the timing
of the appraisal: whether it is conducted prior to the training
programs provided or after.
Concerning accreditation of vocational training, there are five
5) Research fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education &
Training, hmrha@krivet.re.kr
6) Research fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education &
Training, jjs@krivet.re.kr
7) Associate Research fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational
Education & Training, hjchang@krivet.re.kr
8) Researcher, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education &
Training, shoutndm@krivet.re.kr

124 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

systems currently in place: designation of training providers,


supervision, screening of training programs, evaluation of training
providers, and monitoring. These systems share some similarities
in that they are targeted at vocational training providers and
programs in Korea, but they have differences in their functions
and roles. Currently, the accreditation of vocational training
including the evaluation and screening systems are operated in the
way described in <Table IV-1>, and Korea Research Institute for
Vocational Education and Training(KRIVET) is taking part in
some of the processes of the accreditation and Screening systems.
<Table

- 1> Evaluation of Training Providers and Screening of


Training Programs

Classification

Program
Name
Incumbent
workers'
training

MOEL
Local
HQ offices of
MOEL

KCOMWEL*
HQ

Local
Officies

KRIVET

KTECH**

Accredited Evaluation
Plan Supervision Monitoring Expense
of training
paid
providers

Incumbent
Accredited Evaluation Review
workers'
Plan Supervision Monitoring Expense
of training the
training
paid
providers process
(E-learning)

Support
Incumbent
for
Employ workers'
-ers training
(Prints)

Loans for
facilities &
equipment

Accredited Evaluation Review


Plan Supervision Monitoring Expense
of training the
paid
providers process

Plan

Recieve
applications
Final
Preview
screening
management

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 125

Account
system for
incumbent
workers'

Plan

Supervision
Expense
Monitoring
paid Card
issued

Support
Accredited,
for Em- Workers'
Supervision
ployees job
Plan Expense Monitoring
competency
paid Card
improvement
issued
Student
loans

Plan

Training for
the
unemployed Plan
in local
areas

Evaluation
of training
providers
&
Screening
of training
programs
Evaluation
of training
providers

(KCOM(KCOMWEL)
WEL)
Receive
Review
applications
(Local
autonomous
governments
are in
charge)

Monitoring

Support
for the
Supervision
unem- Account
Expense
system
for
ployed
Plan
Monitoring
the
paid Card
unemployed
issued
Training for
Supervision Screening
national key
Plan Expense
&
and strategic
paid
Monitoring
industries

Evaluation
of training
providers
&
Screening
of training
programs
Provider
Accreditation

*KCOMWEL: Korean Workers' Compensation & Welfare Service.


**Korea Tech: Korea University of Technology & Education.
Sources: Ko Hye-Won (2012), Improvement measures for accreditation
and monitoring for quality management of vocational
competency development, Forum presentation.

This chapter will explain the evaluation of the training


providers, which provide training for the unemployed, for national

126 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

key and strategic industries, for incumbent workers, print-based


distance

training

and

web-based

distance

training,

under

government support.

1. Evaluation of Training Providers

A. Grounds and Purpose of Accreditation


Training provider evaluation is carried out in accordance with
Article 53 of the "Workers Vocational Skills Development Act,"
(Evaluation of Vocational Skills Development Training Facilities,
etc.).

According

to

the law,

all

the evaluations

for

skills

development training facilities are conducted under the supervision


of the Employment and Labor Minister, for the purpose of
improving the quality of training. In principle, the results are open
to all stake-holders, including training providers, as well as
employers, workers, and trainees.

B. Background and Progress of Training


Provider Evaluation
When

the

government-supported

vocational

skills

training

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 127

enjoyed a rapid quantitative expansion in the late 1990s, a number


of private training providers, which were not directly under the
government regulation, began participating in those governmentsponsored training programs. During the process, it became
necessary to manage the quality of training, and as a result, a
training provider evaluation system was introduced in 1999.
Currently, every training institution, whose records show that it
provides training in the year that an evaluation is to be made, are
assessed, and follow-up measures are taken based on the results.
For example, it was prohibited for any provider to participate in
the government-supported training from 2003, if it failed to meet
a certain level of accreditation criteria.

128 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 2> Current State of Training Provider Accreditation by


Year

Classification

Year 2009

Year 2010

Year 2011

Year 2012

- Training
- Training
- Training
- Training
providers for
provider for the provider for the providers for
the Tomorrow the Tomorrow
unemployed
unemployed
Learning Card Learning Card
- Training
- Training
system
system
provider for
providers for
- Training
- Training
incumbent
the account
provider for
provider for
workers
system
incumbent
incumbent
- Training
- Web-based
workers
providers for
distance training workers
- Training
- Training
first-selected
providers
Providers
occupations
- Training
provider for the provider for the
to accredit
- Web-based
provider for
national key
national key
and strategic
and strategic
distance training incumbent
workers
industries
industries
providers
- Training
- Web-based
- Web-based
providers for
distance training distance training
first-selected
providers
providers
occupations
- Web-based
distance training
providers
Accredited
providers

1,631

2,183

2,460

2,861

Best
practice
providers

52

38

27

50

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 129

C. Structure and Procedure of Evaluation


MOEL commissions the Center for Evaluation of Skills
Development Policy of KRIVET on training provider evaluation,
and local offices of employment and labor affairs, the Korea
Employment Information Service(KEIS), and the Human Resources
Development Service of Korea(HRD Korea) support the center in
coordination. Please refer to [Figure IV-1].
[Figure

- 1] VET Training Provider Evaluation System

The evaluation consists of the following steps. From February

130 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

to June, after training providers submit the self-assessment reports,


VET experts, who are members of the evaluation committee, visit
training providers to run on-site evaluation on facilities and
equipment. For evaluation by trainees, a trainee satisfaction survey
is conducted to ask those who completed their training about their
level of "overall satisfaction" on providers' training competence,
and evaluation procedures vary, depending on the type of training.
Evaluation by the local labor offices reflect items related to
supervision of training institutes.
<Table
January

- 3> Yearly Accreditation Schedule (as of 2013)


Feb to June

March to
April

May to June

July

Confirm the
target of
evaluation

On-site
evaluation

Evaluation
by trainees

Evaluation
by local
MOEL
offices

Release the
results

August

September

Oct to Nov

November

Dec to Jan

Confirm the
results

Award for
best
practices of
providers

Consulting

Announce
the next
year's
evaluation
plan

Explain
accreditation
and receive
applications

D. Evaluation Index
Evaluation

index

consists

of

training

competence,

trainee

satisfaction, and appraisal by the regional labor offices. In order to


disperse risk of subjective evaluations, items and scores of

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 131

evaluation

are

diversified,

and

training

providers'

efforts

to

improve performance are also included in the index.


1)

Evaluation

on

training

competence

The

evaluation

committee runs a written appraisal first, and then visits the


training providers in question to evaluate them. On-site
evaluation teams consist of one expert member and two
general members.
2) Trainee satisfaction
I.

The

training

voucher

system

for

the

unemployed

(Tomorrow Learning Card System) is evaluated through


the comments on training left by HRD-Net trainees.
II.

Training for national key and strategic industries are


evaluated in parallel through the comments by HRD-Net
trainees and employers' evaluations.

III.

Concerning the collective training on commission for


incumbent workers, it is evaluated by trainee satisfaction,
which is surveyed through phone calls, e-mails and fax,
etc.

3) The regional MOEL offices appraise the training provided


in their region based on their supervision results.

132 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 4> 2013 Index to Evaluate Training Provider for


Vocational Competency Development
Evaluation Areas

Evaluation Items
Vision of Training Provider (6)

1. Vision & Strategy


(15 points)

Leadership of the Head (3)


Finance & Organization (6)
Development of Training programs
(10)

Training
Competency
(70
points)

2. Training Program
(25 points)

Operation of Training programs (5)


Management of Training programs
(10)

Training Facilities and Equipments


3. Training Infrastructure (5)
(15 points)
Human Resources (10)
Trainees management (6)
Training
for the
Employment Support (9)
4. Trainee Unemployed
support
Trainee Management (10)
Training
(15 points) for the
Incumbent
Workers

Support for Career Development (5)

Evaluation by Trainees
(20 points)

Differentiated Application depending


on the Type of Training
- Comments by Trainees
- Evaluation by Trainees/Employers

Evaluation by regional MOEL


offices (10 points)

Attendance Control & other training


management

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 133

E. Use of Evaluation Results


1) Using the Evaluation Grade Accrediting and Approving
Training Programs
In

accordance

Accreditation

of

with

Article

Training

12

Providers

of

the

for

"Regulation
Vocational

on

Skills

Development" (MOEL's established regulation No. 54, December


14, 2012), "Use of an Evaluation Grade," specifies that the
employment and labor minister shall demonstrate an evaluation
grade in the accreditation / approval of training programs.
[Figure

- 2] Flow Chart for Use of Training Provider Evaluation


Results

Training
Provider
Evaluation

Give a
single
grade to
each
provider

Application
Stage
(Exclusion of
Training
Participation)

Selection Stage
(Applying
Differentiated Scores to
Select Training
Courses)

Operation Stage
(Differentiated
Financial Support)

Reflect evaluation
grade (A~D)
Applied to
Applied to training
Lower the
training under
under
the
account

the account
limit of
financial
system for the
system for
support for
unemployed, and
the
commissioned
for national key
unemployed,
training for
and strategic
and for
incumbent
industries
national key
workers (5
Exclude
and strategic
tenths of 100)
commissioned
industries
training for
incumbent workers

134 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2) Differentiated Application of Supervision Depending on


Grade
In accordance with Article 6 the "Regulation on Supervision of
Training Providers for Vocational Skills Development" (MOEL's
established regulation No. 54, December 30, 2011), "Selection and
Cycle of Targets for Regular Supervision," supervision can be
applied differently based on their evaluation grade.
<Table

- 5> Differentiated Supervision Based on Evaluation


Results

Grade A

Make training providers run self-assessment and submit


the results along with a self-improvement plan based on
the results (hereafter referred as "self-improvement
results"), but if
self- improvement results are not
submitted, there is a material violation in the submitted
results, or they are insufficient, supervision shall be
carried out.

Grade B

Concerning training providers who receive Grade B after


evaluation, they shall be under supervision once a year.

Grade
C, D, E
& None

Supervision shall be conducted more than once a year

3) Selection of Best Practice Providers


Best practice providers are selected among the providers, who
receive a grade of "A" for two consecutive years, record the highest

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 135

scores for each type of training in an actual evaluation, or commit


no violations in accordance with "the Workers Vocational Skills
Development Act" in the year of accreditation.

2. Screening of Vocational Training Programs

A. Screening of Training programs under the Skills


Development Account System
1) Introduction
Screening of training programs under the Skills Development
System, a training voucher system for vocational competency
development, is a verification process that every training provider
should undergo, if it wants to be accredited for its training
programs for the unemployed or incumbent workers. A training
provider submits a detailed report on why the government should
give financial supports for its training programs, and how it meets
the criteria for content adequacy. Then, judges, who are experts in
the related areas, will evaluate what is submitted, and prepare a
list of suitable training programs, while taking all the results into
account. Since the screening targets are the training programs, not

136 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

the providers, the screening provides better information on the


training programs, including the employment rate, except for the
programs that fail to meet the minimum requirements, thereby
making it possible for those programs to be evaluated in the
market.

2) How to Screen
Application for program screening can be made on HRD-Net, a
website

run

by

MOEL,

to

provide

information

on

government-supported vocational training programs. KRIVET is in


charge of the screening process, which is mainly carried out using
documents submitted via HRD-Net, on the principle of screening
an individual training program.
A judging committee makes decisions on suitable training
programs: suitable (P), not suitable (F), and conditional approval
(C). Suitable (P) is given when a training program is evaluated as
appropriate at each stage of screening, and not suitable (F) is
given when it is evaluated as inappropriate at each screening
stage. A training program, determined to be unsuitable, can go
through a corrective process after filing a formal objection. Once
the screening is completed, the results of each individual

training

program shall be reported to the labor minister promptly, and


MOEL accredits suitable training programs based on the decisions
made by the judging committee, and announces the list.

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 137

3) Organization and Operation of a Judging Committee


I. Qualification of Judges
Judges are selected based on the fact whether or not he/she has
the capability and expertise to evaluate appropriateness of a
training program. The requirements for a judge are as follows:
doctoral-degree holders in each field according to the classification
of

occupations;

qualified

professional

engineer

or

master

craftsman, who has more than one-year on-site working experience


in each field within the past five years; or an on-site expert, who
has more than five-year experience of working in each field of
concern. However, a stakeholder of an applied training program
should be excluded from the screening, to maintain its fairness.

II. Organizing Principle


Judges are recruited through recommendations by economic
organizations or industrial associations, or public invitation for
participation of experts

in the concerned fields. Judges are

appointed by the KRIVET president, after the employment and


labor minister's approval, and the judge list is not disclosed.
Appointed members to the judging committee are classified
depending on their fields of expertise, and they become members
of "subcommittees" in each field to enhance operation efficiency.

138 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

These subcommittees are allowed to operate only during the


screening period. A unanimous decision is the principle of the
committee, but a decision by majority is also allowed for a
controversial training program. The president of KRIVET can
replace one tenth of the judges, who actually participated in the
screening in the previous year, in the first quarter of every year,
as a means to maintain fairness in the screening process.

4) Screening Procedure and Detailed Items


The screening procedures are previewed by the local labor
offices; screening for the necessity of support; screening for
content adequacy; review of training program adjustments.

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 139

I. Preview
[Figure

- 3] Screening Process

140 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

The regional employment and labor offices are in charge of


the first step preview, and persons in charge at the offices check
applicants' qualification and whether or not their training programs
falls under the pre-announced training areas (occupation), where
applications are limited.
Preview is a procedure to verify whether or not the applications
are

made

truthfully.

At

this

stage,

the

check

points

are

fact-related: i) training facility/equipment, ii) training teachers/


instructors, iii) training materials, and iv) limitations of training
program accreditation. Also, judges pay a visit to applicants in
order to conduct on-site inspections, to strengthen the offices'
supervision authority and responsibilities.
II. Necessity Review for Financial Support
It is a process to determine whether or not the applied training
program

needs

financial

support

from

the

government.

An

application cannot be approved if it falls under one of the two


following

categories:

1)

pre-determined

training fields

where

applications are limited, based on the criteria for support necessity


(criteria for training areas where support necessity is limited); 2)
fields (course) of training set by the judging committee as needed,
in accordance with Article 4, Item 6 of the Regulation for the
Implementation of the Vocational Skills Development Account
System.

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 141

III. Content Adequacy Screening


It reviews whether or not an applied training program meets the
physical

and

personnel

requirements

(training

facilities

and

equipments; and training teachers) and requirements for content


adequacy and appropriateness of training methods. The goals of
this screening are to evaluate how faithful the applied training
program is in meeting the original training purpose, and whether
or not it reflects the latest needs of industrial fields. It is used to
exclude training programs with insufficient content and lack of
adaptability in the actual fields.
IV. Training Program Adjustment Screening
The purpose of this stage is to make a final adjustment,
accommodating the demand of each industry and region, to
prevent excessive approval in area that already have an excessive
supply. At this stage, some adjustments are made to training
programs

whose

content

adequacy

screening

results

are

"Adequate" and "Conditionally Adequate (training cost)" to avoid


excess accreditation in areas with oversupply. For occupations
whose supply is insufficient, on the other hand, an "Adequate"
decision is given on the condition of "remedy of reasons for
inadequacy."

142 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table
Stage

- 6> Items of Training Program Screening

Items

Criteria

Results

Article 14 of Regulation for the


Implementation of the Vocational
Skills Development Account System Appro(Requirements of Appropriate
priate
Support
Not
Support necessity
Training Courses for Account) and
Necessity
appropscreening notification for training
riate
programs for 2013 account system
for vocational competency
development

Contents
Adequacy

Do training facility/equipment satisfy


the minimum requirements of detailed
criteria for each occupation (area,
required equipment)?
Are they in the recent trend, or is
used in the industrial fields?
Are they secured enough compared to Satisfac
tory
Training Facility/
training contents or the fixed number
Not
Equipment
of trainees in the program?
satisfact
Are the internal structure and layout
ory
appropriate to run training (especially,
for practice)?
Are the specifications and age of
training equipments enough to run
training?

Teachers/
Instructors

Do the training teachers/instructors meet


the minimum requirements of detailed Satisfac
criteria for each occupation (major,
tory
Not
experiences and certification)?
satisfact
Do the majors of training
ory
teachers/instructors have relevance to
the concerned training programs?

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 143

Are teaching and on-site experience of


training teachers/instructors related to
the concerned training programs?
Are certifications of training
teachers/instructors relevant to the
concerned training programs?
Is training designed to meet the
training target?
Is training consistent with the name of
the course?
Do training contents adequately reflect
the recent demand from the industrial
fields?
Are detailed subjects of training
organized appropriately?
Are the total training hours and hours Satisfac
tory
for each subject allocated
Not
Training Contents
appropriately?
satisfact
Are the materials in the recent trend or ory
used in the actual industrial fields?
Is the level of trainees set and
provided appropriately to the
concerned training courses?
Are the training contents the same with
or similar to other programs that the
same provider applies for?
Are contents structured appropriate for
the vulnerable groups?
Are the training methods effective
Satisfac
acquiring training contents?
tory
Are theory hours and practice hours
Not
Training Method
properly allocated?
satisfact
Are the used training methods suitable
ory
to the training contents under each

144 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

subject?
Are the used training equipments
proper for the training contents?
Are the training contents are the same
with or similar to other program that
the same provider applies for?
Are training methods used appropriately
for the characteristics of the
vulnerable group?
Is the price for raining appropriate
compared to its level and contents?
Is it reasonable compared to the
Satisfanational average for similar training
Training Expense
ctory
areas and the average of similar
Condi
regions?
-tional
Is training unit cost per hour relatively
reasonable?
Decision

Proper Not Proper


Conditional (Training Expense)

Industrial
Do the overall contents of training
Field
program properly reflect recent
Appropriatchanges in the industrial fields?
eness
Program

Operation Are the training facility/equipment and Grade


teachers/instructors enough compared
Capacity
1
Grade
Appropriat- to the training contents or the fixed
2
Program
(Proper
eness
3
Adjustnumber of trainees?
/
4
ment
Conditi
Satisfaction
5
onal)
to the Do the overall training contents make
it easy for trainees to get a job or a
Purpose of
the
certificate after completing the course,
Account
by improving their job competency?
System

Training

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 145

V. Disclosure of the Final Results


KRIVET

makes

list

of

suitable

training

programs,

by

considering the results from each of the four screening stages, and
then, submits it to MOEL. It also notifies the results to the
concerned

training

providers

through

HRD-Net.

The

list

is

effective for one year from the day of approval.


5) Progress
From 2008, training program screening was conducted on a trial
basis in some regions, to evaluate whether or not the programs
are suitable for the vocational skills development account system.
It has been in operation for six years since its first trial, and it
became an official government program in 2010. The adequacy
rate of the screening was 52.2% in 2012, and the number of
programs, applied for the screening and evaluated as adequate, has
been decreasing, since the second half of 2009.
The followings are the analysis and summary of the latest
screening results in 2012.
Out of 9,598 training programs applied for the adequacy
screening, some 771 programs, a 0.8% of the entire
applications submitted, were determined as inadequate in
the preview and review for support necessity by the
regional labor offices.

146 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

A total of 8,827 programs, after elimination from the


support necessity screening, went through the third stage
of screening.
-

In

the content

adequacy screening

process,

2,644

programs (29.9%) were evaluated as adequate, and the


rest 6,138 (70.1%) were determined inadequate.
- Out of 2,644 adequate programs, 74 were set aside,
because the training providers of those programs were
graded "E" from the training provider evaluation. As a
result, 2,570 programs (26.8%) were finally approved.
<Table

- 7> Results of Training Programs' Adequacy Screening


Decision

Classification

2008

Screening

Decision
Conditioof
nally
Adequate Adequate Adequate Inadequ Adequacy
(a+b)
(b)
ate
Rate
(a)

866

529

508

21

337

61.1%

1st
Half

9,456

4,280

3,465

815

5,176

45.3%

2nd
Half

26,435

13,668

11,838

1,830

12,767

51.7%

2010

21,827

7,645

5,656

1,989

14,182

35.0%

2011

14,654

6,810

4,526

2,284

7,844

46.5%

2012

9,598

5,007

611

4,396

4,591

52.2%

2009

Note: It shows only the results of general programs (excluding training


programs for the underprivileged), and it includes screening results
of programs which filed a formal objection.

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 147

B. Screening of Training for National Key and Strategic


Industries
1) Outline
The targets of training for national key and strategic industries
are those who are looking for jobs in the areas with labor
shortage, among either essential industries, which the nation
protects/nurtures (key industries), or industries that are the growth
engines

of

the

national

economy

(strategic

industries).

The

objective of the system is to ease the labor shortage facing


companies, by nurturing and supplying a skilled workforce in
areas

with

demand

for

them.

MOEL

selects

and

notifies

occupations for training, and commissions universities, research


centers, and specialized training providers for the training of those
occupations of concern. The HRD Korea is in charge of screening
training providers on commission.
Occupations, which fall into this category, should be in the key
and strategic industries, and are selected, considering the number
of vacancies and the size of the labor shortage of

each

occupation, for the most recent year. MOEL makes the final
selection, by taking opinions from related central government
departments,

employers,

and

organizations

into

account, who

requested for the training of a skilled workforce, because there is


an insufficient supply of labor in the fields.

148 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2) Selection Process
Training providers on commission are selected for each training
program,

after reviewing their appropriateness based on

the

following process.
<Table

- 8> Process of Screening Training Providers on


Commission

Classification

Contents

Institute in
Charge

1. Screening
Explanation

To be held in the first quarter every


HRD Korea
year

2. Application
Period

Notification and application in the


second quarter every year

HRD Korea

3. Judging
Committee for
Providers

Evaluate appropriateness of training


provider, targeting newly established
institutes

HRD Korea

To check on employment connection


4. Employment
Connection Check companies, submitted by providers

MOEL
(Local
offices)

5. Appraise
Applicability to
Industrial Fields

To decide whether facility/equipment,


and contents are actually used in the HRD Korea
fields

6. Screening by
Subcommittees

On-site inspection for training


competency for each occupation
Screening providers for mid-term
contract (on-site inspection when
necessary)

7. Judging Committee Final selection for training courses


for Final Decision passed by subcommittees

HRD Korea

HRD Korea

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 149

8. Committee for
To review appropriateness of training
HRD Korea
Training Expense
cost
Screening
9. Notification of
Selected
Programs

Notification to be made in the third


quarter every year

MOEL
(HQ)

10. On-site
Inspection for
selected
Programs and
Contract for
Consignment

On-site inspection for selected


programs
Conclude a contract for
consignment

MOEL
(Local
offices)

3) Screening Criteria
Training programs are screened through on-site investigations,
document

review,

institution

evaluations,

and

performance

evaluations. The performance evaluation shall be conducted on


four

items

(including

the

employment

rate

of

the

applied

program), but training programs are excluded if they do not have


performance figures from the previous year.
<Table

- 9> Score Allocation for Screening of Training for


National Key and Strategic Industries
Evaluation Items

Scores

Provider Appropriateness

20 points

Performance Evaluation

40 points

Training Program Evaluation

40 points

150 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table

- 10> Performance Evaluation Items and Scoring Method

Classification

Scoring Method

Employment
Rate

[Those who are employed within six months after


completing training1)/(those who completed
training+those employed early)]100

Employment
Rate of the
Same
Occupation

The number of people employed for the same


occupation/(those who completed training+those
employed early]100

Employment
Retention
Rate

(Those who remain employed for 90 days or over


among those who are employed after completing
training/those who get a job)100

Rate of
Those Who
Complete the
Training

[Those who completed training2)/(actual number of


trainees-organization employment)]100

1) Early employment included


2) Early employment excluded

Also, any provider, who falls into one of the following


scenarios, is excluded from selection, without a separate additional
screening:
i. A newly established provider, who does not have sufficient
personnel and organization to properly run the training
institute (2 points or less out of 5)
ii. A newly established provider, whose financial stability for
stable operation of the training institute fails to meet the
standard (2 points or less out of 5)
iii. Any provider, which fails in one of the four detailed items

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 151

(training contents, teachers/instructors, facility and equipment,


etc.) (2 points or less out of 5)
iv. Any provider, whose scores are less than 40% of 100
points in total

C. Screening of Distance Training


1) Outline
Distance training, since its introduction in 1999, has become
one of the major corporate HRD areas. Its proportion in the entire
employers' training is growing continuously, thanks to its easiness
to participate and the revitalization of the training market. There
are two types of distance training mainly used by Korean
enterprises:

web-based

training,

which

is

provided

using

information communication media; and print-based training, which


is carried out using printed materials. However, they have one
thing in common: they both manage their trainees over the web.
Its appropriateness screening is conducted in consideration of the
direct relevance to a worker's job competency, sufficiency of
training hours, suitability as a distance training course, and
adequacy of training contents and appropriateness of methods. On
top of this, an expiration date is given to improve the quality of
the program, and an evaluation grade can be re-adjusted after one
year, depending on the changes in situation. Training programs,

152 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

which undergo the appropriateness screening, are valid for two


years from the screening date.
The objectives of the screening are as follows:
To allow swift opening and execution of training program
through just-in-time screening for applying programs
To act as an institutional filter to prevent the entrance of
any program with inadequate content
To improve the integrity of the environment for distance
learning with accurate decisions on training hours and
fields
To provide a standard for accreditation and the level of
financial support via screening and decision with public
confidence
To raise the quality of distance training through judges'
feedback on the composition of the training program
To provide detailed policy alternatives, by studying related
policies for the future and system improvement measures,
using various cases and information, gained from the
screening process

2) Pre-Screening System
Distance
employers,

training,
is

one

operated

of
as

MOEL's
programs,

training
which

consigned
are

to

determined

appropriate in the pre-screening by Korea Tech, and accredited by


HRD Korea.

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 153

[Figure

- 4] Program Screening and Evaluation for Distance


Training

154 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Pre-screenings are carried out separately for web-based and


print-based training. Formal requirements and the first stage
screenings are conducted by Korea Tech, and the second stage is
done by members of the judging committee, who are experts in
the field of training. Please refer to [Figure IV-5] for the entire
screening process and procedure.
[Figure

- 5] Detailed Procedure of Pre-screening

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 155

Formal requirement (Return) screening: Korea Tech runs


pre-screening for incomplete formalities (input error for
screening

systems,

errors

in

evaluation

files,

etc.)

(Approved, Return for Complement, Return Confirmed)


Formal requirement (Return for Complement) screening: it
is

conducted

for

re-applied,

return

for

complement

programs, on items returned and complemented

First

stage

requirements

screening:
for

distance

Korea

Tech

learning

reviews

(relevance

basic
to

job

performance, suitability as distance training) and the level


of supply in the training market
Second stage screening: Judges review training program
(web-based:

contents,

print-based:

training

text

and

teaching/learning work book). Adequacy of training hours is


screened by Korea Tech.

3) Screening Criteria for Distance Training


Separate screenings are conducted depending on the type of
training (web-based/print-based), and screening criteria are listed
below.
Screening Criteria for Contents of Web-based Training

156 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

First Stage Screening


At this stage, it is reviewed for relevance to job performance,
suitability for distance learning, and the level of supply in the
training market, which are the basic requirements for training
programs.
<Table

- 11> Screening Items of the 1st Stage Screening for


Web-based Distance Training

Screening
Item

1. Relevance
to Job
Performance

2. Suitability
for
Distance
Training
3. The
Level of
Supply in
the
Training
Market

Nonvitalized

Vitalized

Advan Gene- Advan Gene-ced ral -ced ral

Screening
Contents

Results

Whether the
contents have
direct relation
Suitable
to improvement
Unsuitable
in workers' job
competency
To review
whether the
contents meet
the basic
requirements
for distance
training

Suitable
Unsuitable

The suitability
of a program
applied for
non-vitalized
areas

Non-vitalized
Vitalized

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 157

<Table

- 12> Screening Items of the 2nd Stage Screening for


Web-based Distance Training

Screening
Item
1.
Adequacy
of training
hours

NonVitalized
vitalized
A* G** A* G**

2.
Appropriateness of

training
contents and
methods

3.
Appropriate
ness of
Evaluation

4.
Appropriateness of

Teaching/Le
arning
Support
5.
Suitability
of Experts
in the
Training
A*: Advanced
G**: General

Screening Contents

Results

To check whether the


training hours calculated
and suggested by
providers are adequate
To check whether learning
contents are suitable to
achieve learning goals,
and whether a proper
learning method is
suggested for better
understanding of students
To check whether the
evaluation method is
proper to measure training
performance, and accuracy
and difficulty of
evaluation questions are
appropriate
To check whether or not
differentiated study
support is provided to
students, evaluation and
learning activities are
provided in connection
with workplace, and
proper teachers/instructors
are involved enough

Adequate
Adjustment
of hours
Inadequate

Proper
Improper

Proper
Improper

Proper
Improper

To check whether or not


Suitable
experts worked in the
contents development are Unsuitable
suitable

158 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Second Stage Screening


It is conducted by field expert judges, and screening criteria
are applied differently, depending on whether screening contents
are vitalized/non-vitalized. Korea Tech reviews for the adequacy of
training hours.
Screening Criteria for Contents of Print-based Training
First Stage Screening
At this stage, it is reviewed for relevance to job performance,
suitability of distance learning, and the level of supply in the
training market, which are the basic requirements for training
program.
<Table

- 13> Screening Items of the 1st Stage Screening for


Print-based Distance Training

Screening
Item

NonVitalized
vitalized

Screening Contents

Results

A* G** A* G**

1. Relevance
to Job

Performance

Whether or not the


training programs have
Suitable
direct relation to
Unsuitable
improvement in workers'
job competency

2. Suitability
for Distance
Training

Whether or not it is
Suitable
possible to meet training
Unsuitable
purposes only with

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 159

print-based distance
training
3. The Level
of Supply

in the
Training
Market
A*: Advanced
G**: General

The suitability of the


contents applied for
non-vitalized areas

Nonvitalized
Vitalized

Second Stage Screening


It is conducted by field expert judges, and the same screening
criteria

are

applied

to

both

vitalized/non-vitalized

training

programs. However, detailed criteria shall be added to advanced


courses. Korea Tech conducts screening for the adequacy of
training hours.
<Table

- 14> Screening Items of the 2nd Stage Screening for


Print-based Distance Training

NonVitalized
Screening
vitalized
Screening Contents
Results
Item
A* G** A* G**
1.
Adequate
To check whether or not the
Adequacy
Adjusttraining hours scheduled by
for
ment

the training provider is
Training
of hours
calculated adequately
Hours
Inadequate
2.
Study

Orientation: to check whether


Proper
introduction about learning
Improper
methods, procedure and

160 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Plan

3.
Learning

performance

4.
Parcipation in
Evaluation

faculty is appropriate.
Set learning objectives: to
check whether learning
objectives are proposed
properly
Establishment of study plan:
to check whether learning
schedule and activities are
proposed properly
To Study readiness for each
unit: to check whether proper
preparation is suggested for
effective learning
Textbook study: to check
textbook for each class and
once a week study is
sufficient
Supplementary and deepened Proper

learning (advanced): to check Improper


whether contents for
supplementary and deepened
learning are provided
adequately to help students'
understanding
Study summary: to check
study summary is proper for
self-directed study summary
Examination: to check
whether an effective
evaluation methods are
provided for achieving study
Proper
goals
Improper
Submission of assignment for
evaluation: to check whether
teachers/instructors' feedback
guidelines are provided in

Chapter IV. Evaluation of Vocational Training. 161

teaching/study work book


Test Results Check: to check
whether feedback on
examination results are
realized in LMS
Tailored Assignment
(advanced): to check whether
tailored assignment are
suggested to allow students to
choose an assignment which
can be applied to his/her
current occupation or job
A*: Advanced
G**: General

3. Conclusion

As

discussed

above,

KRIVET

has

contributed

to

the

improvement in the national VET policy through systematic


screening and evaluation of training providers and programs. The
research

center

plans

to

reinforce

the

performance-based

management system, by improving evaluations of those who


complete training programs. It also reviews the training provider
accreditation system for better quality management of vocational
competency development training, and studies detailed measures to
build on training providers' competency.

162 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

References
Chang, Hea-Jung et at. (2011). 2011 Evaluation of Vocational
Training Institutions. MOELKRIVET.
Chang, Hea-Jung et at. (2012). Study on Comprehensive Quality
Management System for Vocational Training Institutions.
KRIVET.
Kim, Su-Weon Rha, Hyeon-mi Shim, Ji-Hyun (2011).
Reorganization of Screening System and Operation
Condition for Suitable Training Courses of Vocational
Competency Development Account System. KRIVET.
KRIVET (2012). Vision and Challenges of Vocational Competency
Development: Park, Yeong-Beom.
Ko, Hye-Won (2012). Improvement Measures for Accreditation
and Monitoring for Quality Management of Vocational
Competency Development, Forum Presentation.
MOELKRIVET (2013). Publication of 2013 Explanation on
Screening of Suitable Training Courses of Vocational
Competency Development Account System.
MOELKRIVET (2012). Publication of 2012 Explanation on
Screening of Suitable Training Courses of Vocational
Competency Development Account System.
Oh, Young-Hoon (2009). Monitoring of Evaluation System for
Distance Training Programs and Improvement Measures.
KRIVET.
Rha, Hyeon-mi Ko, Hye-WonJeong, Ran (2012). Measures to
Introduce and Press Ahead With Comepetency Evaluation
of Vocaional Training Institutions.

Chapter V.
Trends and Issues of Career
Education in Korea
1. Overview of Career Education
A. Background of Career Education
B. Definition and Roles of Career Education

2. Policy of Career Education


A. Career Education in the National Curriculum
B. Targets and Achievement Criteria of Career
Education
C. Personnel to Support Career Education
D. Creation and Dissemination of Career Information
E. Legal Grounds for Career Education

3. Delivery System of Career Education


A. National Level
B. Regional Level
C. School Level

4. Trends and Issues of Career Education

165
165
166

170
173
175
179
183
186

188
190
193
194

195

Appendix Changes in Major Career Educationrelated Policies(1982 to present) 201


References

204

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 165

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career


Education in Korea

Ji-Yeon Lee9)

1. Overview of Career Education

A. Background of Career Education


Career

Education

was

first

introduced

in

1970,

to

solve

problems facing the public education system in the US. The new
educational

concept, which emphasizes

a connection between

knowledge taught in schools, and the context of an individual's


entire

life

courses,

was

first

introduced

through

various

9) Senior Research Fellow, Korea Research Institute for Vocational


Education and Training, catslee@krivet.re.kr

166 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

experimental models, including school-centered, family-centered,


industry-centered, and community-centered ones. In Korea, the
necessity for career education emerged in the 1980s, due to large
unemployment rates of highly educated people, a shortage of the
skilled workforce, and misdemeanors by teenagers who did not get
a job nor were enrolled in higher education institutes. As a
solution to these social and educational problems, career education
became necessary, because it stresses students' awareness of
themselves and the world of work, exploration into them, and
preparation for them, within the framework of school education.
Research on career education started in earnest in 1982, when
the Korea Educational Development Institute(KEDI) conducted a
study,

after

receiving

funds

from

UNICEF(United

Nations

Children's Fund). At that time, various programs and materials


were developed for career education at primary and secondary
schools. The goals of major content were to create a system,
which can provide information on various vocations and values
required in the world of work, and to give individuals chances to
find and develop their talents and aptitudes, all of which can be
reflected in their decisions on their future career paths between
getting a job and entering higher education.

B. Definition and Roles of Career Education


Career education is vocational education in a broader sense. It
is also an educational activity that helps individuals involve in

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 167

meaningful and productive activities, and live a high quality of


life. As they can develop their potentials, they become able to
make suitable career choices.
Recently, as lifelong learning becomes universal, and the role of
career education comes to the forefront, career education has been
recognized as an educational activity that assists in the promotion
of individuals' career development in every life course from school
age to adulthood, and to old age, over their lifetime. Because
career education plays a role as a bridge connecting education,
training, and welfare, a growing emphasis is put on the range of
objects and contents of career education, and the role of teaching,
along with career information and career guidance (counselling).
The basic concept of career education can be summarized into
eight factors in [Figure V-1]. Career education is provided for
everyone, includes not only the time of employment and
school entrance admission, but also all the life courses throughout
their career, helps individuals to make more rational choices
and decisions, pursues continuous career development,
includes all the activities such as learning, work, leisure, and
hobbies, assists them in exploring various fields of vocations
and work values, pursues social productivity, and helps
them achieve results, including career development competencies,
acquisition
employment.

of

skills

for

life-long

employment,

and

finding

168 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure V - 1] Eight Basic Concepts of Career Education

Sources: Lee Ji-yeon, Jung Yun-kyoung, Lee Jong-nam. Reorganized Bell


& Hoyt (1974).

The core concepts of career education are as follows: 1. Career


awareness to correctly understand the value and importance of
work, and individual characteristics, which are related to the
question of "Who am I?"; 2. Reliable and accurate career
exploration

to

set

career

target

in

the

context

of

"life-learning-work," while considering "Where should I go from


here?"; 3. Career plans, actions, and management to create detailed
targets, asking "How can these targets be met?" Career awareness
such as, career explorations, and career plans, actions, and
management can be summarized into the learning experiences of
career development competency or career development.
It is reported that career education (career guidance), which

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 169

supports an individual's career development competency,

can

contribute to social integration, social equity, mental and physical


health, and crime rate reduction (refer to [Figure V-2]). In Korea,
career education is becoming more and more important, as a
fundamental solution to many problems: labor market problems,
such as an excessive level of education, discrepancy among
"major-aptitude-vocation," labor shortage facing small and medium
enterprises, job shortages for the youth, and adolescents' herd
mentality in career choice, as well as social problems including
school violence.
[Figure V - 2] Achievement and Roles of Career Education

*Source: Hirsch, W (2006) cited in Career development at work a


review of career guidance to support people in employment. CEDEFOP
European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (2008).

170 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2. Policy of Career Education

Two perspectives of career education have evolved, depending


on labor requirements at the time, as a growing importance was
emphasized. The first point of view takes an approach as an
alternative, which can solve the overall educational and social
problems in Korea. The second perspective is based on the career
education-friendly educational philosophy, which means that the
philosophy and values, the career education pursues, should be
embodied at the core of all education.
When Korea was hit hard by the Asian Financial Crisis in
1997, The first perspective was emphasized. The repercussions of
the economic difficulties created large-scale unemployment, as it
forced companies to undergo restructuring, which led to a shortage
of skilled workers, and unemployment of the highly educated
youth. During this period, the highlighted role of education was to
nurture human resources with an industrial competitive edge that
can flexibly adapt to the fast-changing labor market, and career
education also emerged as an alternative to solve the problems. In
the past, career education was mostly done with psychological
tests based on a "test and tell" method, and supported an
individual to choose between entering higher education and getting
a job, from the perspective of a certain time of one's life.
However, after the economic crisis, it was recommended to help
individuals cultivate their career development competency on their
own, from a life course perspective.

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 171

The second perspective emerged in 2009, when the revised


curriculum implemented a career education-oriented philosophy and
the values included in the human characteristics and contents that
education in Korea pursues. The new curriculum provides a clear
description of career education covering all areas of education in
Korea. In other words, the human characteristics, which the
revised courses pursue, are expressly set as "a person who
pioneers his/her career, with the growth of the whole person."
Accordingly, the educational contents in each level of school
stressed

life-long

learning

competency,

and

the

role

and

importance of career education, under the framework of career


awareness, exploration, and development. In particular, career
education was enhanced in the modified education courses such
as, "creative experience activity" which was newly adopted for
career activities, and a new subject, "Career and Vocation," which
was introduced as an optional course (Please refer to <Figure
V-3>).

172 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure V - 3] 2009 Revised Curriculum Human Characteristics,


Content into Curriculum

Sources: Lee Ji-yeon, Jeong Yoon-kyeong, Lee Jong-nam. Cited from the
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2009)

There are five categories for the government policy to support


development of career education: 1) Career education within the
national curriculum; 2) Establishment of targets and achievement
criteria for career education; 3) Deployment of support personnel
for

career

education;

4)

Creation

and

provision

of

career

information; 5) Establishment of the legal foundation for career


education.

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 173

A. Career Education in the National Curriculum


1) Inclusion of Specialized Career Subjects in the National
Curriculum
One of the most distinctive characteristics of career education in
Korea is that it is a subject, included in the national curriculum.
In the 6th National Curriculum, Career/Vocation (6 units) had
existed as an optional course in the Industrial Technology and
Home Economics course, and "Career and Vocation" became an
independent regular subject in general courses, in the 7th National
Curriculum. The 7th National curriculum allowed the subject to
position itself as an independent optional subject, which can be
chosen at the principal's discretion, and expanded it to elementary,
middle, and high schools. However, the actual adoption rate was
very low at high schools, because the curriculum was focused on
preparation for the university entrance examination. There were
also

other

difficulties,

including

theory

and

concept-centered

teaching, and the lack of specialized teachers who are responsible


for this subject alone. Such problems created other issues as well:
difficulty in securing enough school hours, lack of sequence and
integration between different grades and level of schools, lack of
teachers' expert knowledge in career, and an insufficient evaluation
system.

174 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2) Curriculum-Integration of Career Education


Curriculum integration of career education is an educational
course that is intended to achieve the goals of both general study
and career education, by linking career education with core
subjects (Korean, English, mathematics, social studies, science,
etc.). Integrated curriculum, which started in 2008, served as an
opportunity

to further

develop

career

education

in a

more

specialized and systematic form, thanks to its teaching and


learning methods

that put

students' active participations and

interactions before theory-oriented education. During the period, a


manual was developed to help teachers run integrated career
education, and various teaching-learning materials were supplied
and distributed. In addition, it became a major course in the
teacher training course, which intended to enhance the career
expertise of teachers.
Since then, career education has become an independent subject
in the national curriculum, and educational philosophy-oriented
career education started to be indirectly emphasized, while being
linked with major general subjects, unlike in the past.
On top of this, it pursued a policy to secure teaching hours,
and to expand unique career activities for each grade and level of
school, while intensifying career activities (career camp, mentoring,
career experience, etc.) in non-curricular creativity experience
activities.

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 175

B. Definition and Roles of Career Education


The question, "What should school career education teach?"
has an important meaning because it is the basis for targets of
education itself, substantial and systematic educational content, and
criteria to evaluate performance. To answer the question, research
was conducted on the objectives and the content of school career
education. Based on the literatures in the field, precedent studies,
such as the US' NCDG(National Career Development Guideline),
Canada's BLWD(Blue-print for Life/Work Designs), and the UK's
National Framework, etc., suggestions were made for objectives
and content, required for school career education in Korea.
Based

on

announced

these studies,

"Objectives

and

the Ministry

of

Education(MOE)

Achievement

Criteria

for

Career

Education" in 2012. As is seen in <Table V-1> and [Figure V-4],


they were not limited to a simple cycle of "self-understanding vocational

understanding

rational

communication,"

but

competency for life-long career development was emphasized as


one

of

the

information

major
utilization,

self-management, etc.

areas,

which

interpersonal

includes
relations,

problem

solving,

communications,

176 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure V - 4] Objectives of School Career Education

Sources: MEST (2013).

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 177

<Table V - 1> Objectives and Achievement Criteria for School


Career Education
Content
Main
SubCatecategory
gory
1.
Selfunderstan
-ding
and
I.
Deve- formulation of
lopment positive
+self- selfunderst concept
anding 2.
& of Build
social interperscompe- onal
tence relations
& communication
competences
1. UnderII.
Unders standing
tanding on work
of the and
work vocation
2.
and
Formulati
the
world on of
of
healthy
work work

Goals/Achievement Standards of Career Education


for Each School
Elementary
School

Middle
School

Academic
High School

Vocational
High School

To build
basic
competence
for
interpersonal
relations and
communicati
on, and
foster
positive
self-concept,
the basis for
career
development
competency

To reinforce
positive
self-concept
and develop
interpersonal
relations and
communication
competences

To have a
comprehensive
understanding
on oneself,
develop
self-concept,
interpersonal
relations, and
communication
competences
and make
efforts to
connect ones
dream and
vision with
his/her career

To
understand
the meaning
and
importance
of work and
vocation, and
formulate
healthy work
ethics and

.To
understand
diversity of
the world of
work and its
dynamic
changes, and
develop
healthy work
ethics

To have a
comprehensive
understanding
on oneself,
develop
self-concept
and
interpersonal
relations and
communication
competences
and make
efforts to
connect ones
dream and
vision with
his/her career
To fortify
ones
awareness on
changes,
diversity of
work and the
world of
work, and
have healthy
work ethics

To fortify
ones
awareness on
changes,
diversity of
work and the
world of
work and
have healthy
work ethics

178 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

ethic
1.
Exploring
education
opportunities
III.
Career
Explor- 2.
Exploring
ing
vocational
information

1.
Building
capacity
for a
career
decision

IV.
Career
Design
and
2.
Prepara
Career
tions
plan and
preparatio
n

an attitude
towards life
of doing
ones best
To
understand
the meaning
of study by
exploring
educational
chances
related to
ones career
and build
competence
to explore
vocation of
ones interest
in various
ways
To practice
making basic
plan/decision
to prepare
for a
creative and
systematic
career plan
in the future

and attitudes

and attitudes

To foster
capacity to
systematically explore
educational
chances or
vocational
information
for ones
career after
middle
school

To nurture
competence
to explore
chances for
higher
education,
and
information
of desired
vocations

To nurture
competence
to explore
life-long
education and
chances for
higher
education,
and detailed
information
of desired
vocations

To build
competence
to creatively
design/
execute ones
career after
graduating
from middle
school, based
on
individuals
exploration
into career/
vocational
and
educational
worlds

To make a
reasonable
decision and
systematic
plan prepare
ones career
after high
school

To make a
reasonable
decision and
systematic
plan prepare
ones career
after high
school

*Source: Ministry of Education. 2012.

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 179

C. Personnel to Support Career Education


1) Assignment of Specialized Career Teachers
The issue, who should be in charge of career education, is
deeply related to the quality of career education's performance.
Recently, the MOE extended the number of career teachers
(specialized career teachers) assigned to every junior high and
high school to 4,550 from 2011 to 2013. It also introduced a
policy to provide training to enhance teachers' professionalism
depending on their level.

2) Building Expertise of Specialized Career Teachers


In the past, school career education in Korea was mainly
carried out with one-off activities as discretionary activities, or in
some units of other subjects, like Social Studies and Ethics, or
Technology and Home Economics (practical arts). Compared to
that, the 2009 revised curriculum required the expertise of career
teachers to a larger extent. According to the revision, the MOE is
providing a qualification training program for career teachers to
foster their expertise in career education. The objectives of the
qualification training are to enhance a career teachers' expertise for
better teaching in Career and Vocation classes and improve
quality counselling for career and college admission, and to
qualify

them

as

"Medium

Level

regular

teachers

for

career/college enrollment ." The ministry is focusing on building

180 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

those teachers' expertise, by commissioning qualification training


for teachers minoring in career (570 hours in total) to other
related institutions from 2011.

3) Major Jobs of Specialized Career Teachers


Please refer to <Table V-2> for roles and jobs of specialized
career teachers.
<Table V - 2> Roles and Jobs of Specialized Career Teachers
Academic Vocational
High
High
School
School

Jobs of Career/
School Admission counselling Teachers

Middle
School

1) To be in charge of overall career education at school


as a head teacher for career/admission

2) To make school career curriculum management plan


and run programs

3) To teach the subject of Career and Vocation

4) To make a plan and give guidance on career activity


among creative career activities

5) To counsel and give guidance to students for


career/school admission

6) To manage career-related Edupot

7) To guide career portfolio

8) To use and consult on career/vocation related


psychological test on CareerNet

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 181

9) To plan/run various career education-related


experience activates in/out of school

10) To provide training and consulting on career


education for faculty and parents

11) To manage network with local community (for DE,


etc.) and other related organizations

12) To support exam thru admissions officers

13) To give guidance and counselling for majors at


colleges/universities

14) To support students who wants to get a job

15) To support school admission after getting a job first


and employment facilitation

16) To support networking with businesses

17) Industry-academia cooperation for vocational high


schools and employment support personnel

18) To counsel for choice of school (academic /


vocational)

19) To plan and run vocational experience programs

20) To support self-directed study testing

21) To support writing a study plan

*Source: Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (June 18, 2012).

182 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

4) Career Education Support via Establishment of Parent


Career Coach Teams
As the parents' role has been an increasing influence in their
children's career decisions, it became necessary to provide parents
with ample information to help them support their children's
rational career choices, and training opportunities to enhance their
capacity for career education. In 2012, the Ministry of Education
offered intensive training for some 350,000 parents, under the
supervision of district offices of education and unit schools. It
also runs a customized training course for parents with difficulties,
including

those

who

live

in

agricultural

or

fishing

areas,

dual-working parents, and those from multi-cultural families. It is


strengthening its policy of using parents with expertise and field
experience in the world of work in various capacities; those
parents work as assistants to career teachers, whose number in
schools is inadequate, helpers at career experience events and
career camps, and instructors to introduce vocations to students.
As of 2012, some 6,693 parent career coaches are being utilized,
and

their

involvement

in

career

education

support

will

be

expanded in 2013. The ministry is pressing ahead with a policy to


increase the number of parent coaches to 50,000 in total, by
establishing a Parent Career Coach Team in every school,
consisting of five coaches or more in each school.

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 183

D. Creation and Dissemination of Career Information


1) Creation and Distribution of Career Information
Career information is one of the major contents of career
education. In order to provide credible and accurate career
information, vocational research should be based on science to
create objective information. Vocational research studies both
dynamic (creation and development of vocations) and static aspects
of vocations (their characteristics and structure). Creation of such
information requires data extraction from vocational research (for
example, required knowledge, skills, competency, aptitude and
interests,

and

qualifications),

which

is

critical

factor

for

individuals' career choices, decisions, and transitions. Diverse


vocational research should be conducted to scientifically analyze
currently existing vocations, and identify promising jobs in the
future,

so

that

students

can

choose

and

develop

their

future-oriented career. Since this research is the basic source of


career information, it needs to be an ongoing process.
KRIVET(Korea Research Institute of Vocational Education and
Training) runs "CareerNet" (a comprehensive career/ vocation
information

web-based

system),

an

information

database,

to

effectively provide and distribute career information. CareerN et


(www.career.go.kr):

It

is

comprehensive

career

information network, and KRIVET has been operating since


1999

on

commission

by

the

M OE,

to

provide

comprehensive information on career education, including

184 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

studies and vocation information, psychological tests, cyber


counsellings, etc. Please refer to <Table V-3> for comprehensive
career information service provided via CareerNet.
<Table V - 3> Comprehensive Career Information Service via
CareerNet
Service

Content

Provide
information
on career/
vocation

To provide career experience program, career


education texts, best practice cases, and career
information
To provide vocational information including the world
of work in the future, Korea dictionary of
occupations, etc.

Career/
vocational
aptitude
test

On-line career/vocational aptitude test: vocational


aptitude, values, career maturity, etc.
Off-line test (visiting service): vocational aptitude
test, etc.

Cyber
counselling
service

To provide cyber counselling for school admission for


students nationwide (About 30,000 cases in 2012)
To reinforce its counselling by establishing additional
counselling CareerNet teams

2) Support System for Career Experience


With the recent introduction of a Free Learning Semester,
experience-oriented career education is becoming more and more
important. Free Learning Semester is the key education policy of
the 18th President Park Geun-hye's administration. The main goal
of the policy is to nurture students' creativity and to give them

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 185

chances to explore career through activities and experience-centered


education (reading, music, art and physical education activities and
career experience), by allowing students a semester without any
written test. In a bid to revitalize career experience, the MOE
emphasizes
autonomous

policies

to

organizations

maximize
and

cooperation

local

between

communities,

and

local
the

connection with experience resources in each region, and to make


the utmost use of those resources. It introduced a certification
system for best donation practice for education(DE) organizations,
which provide free career experience opportunities. Along with
this, the city and provincial education offices have concluded DE
MOU(Memorandum of Understanding) with some 738 institutions
nationwide (as of July 2012) (Refer to [Figure V-5]).
[Figure V - 5] Career Experience Support System

Sources: MEST (2012).

186 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

E. Legal Grounds for Career Education


High quality and systematic career education would be possible,
only

when

its

role/responsibility,

work,

and

administrative

procedures are supported by law at the national and regional


levels.
Recently, the MOE is pressing ahead with the legislation of a
"Career Education Promotion Act" (Please refer to <Table V-4>).
The objectives of the proposed legislation are to recognize career
education as a students' right, and to systemize who, what, how,
why, and for whom career education should be operated in public
education, in order to have the central and local autonomous
governments be responsible for promoting career education.
<Table V - 4> Major content of the Proposed Act on Career
Education Promotion
Area

Detailed Content

To suggest
the basic
direction for
career
education

To support
school career

School career education to target development of


self-directed career development competency to enable
individuals to adapt to the changing world of work and
life-long learning society
To set national career education goals and achievement
standards by students' developmental stage and type of
school
The State and local autonomous government to
establish career education policy, considering the
socially vulnerable
To lay the groundwork to place career teachers and
specialized staff

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 187

education

To clarify school career education activities


(psychological test, counselling, career classes, etc.)
- Principals can provide career psychological test and
counselling and establish exclusive class for it
To support develop/provide content necessary for
career education

To vitalize
career
experiences

To establish
career
education
support
system
To strengthen
cooperative
system for
career
education in
local
communities
To conduct
survey on
current state
of career
education and
evaluation

To lay the foundation for career experience support by


the State/local autonomous governments
To introduce a system to certify organizations and
businesses for DE when they provide free-of-charge
career experience
To recognize hours spent in career experiences as class
hours
To designate "national career education," specialized in
career education
To run the "national career education council" for
support/advice for career education policy
City & provincial education offices to set up/operate
the "regional career education council support centers"
Local autonomous governments to support
establishment/operation of career education-related
facilities and programs
City & provincial education offices to run the "regional
career education councils" participated by businesses,
etc.
To lay the foundation for survey on the current states
of career education and educational administrations'
evaluation on them
- To lay the groundwork for educational administrations'
evaluations on schools in its jurisdiction

*Source: MEST (May 3, 2012).

188 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

3. Delivery System of Career Education


Currently, the ministry is working hard to intensify the
curriculum

integration

of

career

education,

and

to

realize

experience-centered career education, so that students can better


adapt themselves to real working fields. To this end, it is
supporting a successful foundation of a career education system,
by establishing a systematic partnership with schools and the
central government, through the Ministry of Education and
specialized support organizations [KRIVET, Korea Council for
University

Education(KCUE),

Korea

Employment

Information

Service(KEIS), Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science


and

Creativity(KOFAC),

and

the

Educational

Broadcasting

System(EBS)] at the central-government level, Support Centers


for Career and College Enrollment at the city and provincial
education offices level, and Counselling Centers for Career and
College Enrollment at the unit school level (please refer to
[Figure V-6]).

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 189

[Figure V - 6] Implementation System for Career Education Policy

Sources: MEST (2012). Reorganized a reference book for career


education policy ( II )

190 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

A. National Level
1) Ministry of Education
In 2011, the MOE created an independent career education
policy department, under the Lifelong and Vocational Education
Bureau, to take responsibility for overall national policy related to
career education. The roles of the MOE are as follows:
To establish a career education plan
To legislate laws and organize systems
To set up a support system
To provide contents
To support personnel infrastructure
To set a target and manage performance

2) Specialized Organizations to Support Career Education


The MOE maintains

a close link and cooperation with

specialized organizations in career education, to provide a better


quality career education policy in the field. The purpose is to
provide assistance to city and provincial education offices and
schools, while developing policy for career/ college enrollment and
related programs, operating training programs, and sharing various
information and content. As shown in [Figure V-7] and <Table
V-5>, there are five organizations, which fall into this category:
KRIVET, KCUE, KEIS, KOFAC, and EBS. The ministry regularly

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 191

holds meetings with those five organizations, which is presided


over by KRIVET.
[Figure V - 7] A Discussion Body of Organizations Specialized
in Career Education

Sources: MEST (2012).

<Table V - 5> Function of Specialized Organizations and Their


Support for Career Education
Organization

Function/Characteristics

Support for Career Education

To provide career/school To establish/run CareerNet:


admission information
career information DB portal
and counselling service,
from 1999
KRIVET
and conduct various
-To support activities of
VET policy and HRD
career/school admission
researches
teachers' council

192 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

-To link with WorkNet (KEIS)


Career/vocation aptitude test and
cyber counselling service

KEIS

To innovate career
guidance infrastructure
To run Youth WorkNet and
to "enhance the quality
KNOW to provide various
of life by advancing
career/vocational information
employment service, and
Career/vocation aptitude test and
develop/distribute
cyber counselling service
field-related career
guidance data

KCUE

To train career/school
To conduct projects
enrollment counselling teachers
related to student
for admission
screening system to
To provide various content
enhance the quality of
needed to run city/provincial
university education, and
career/school admission support
analyze and provide
centers
career/school admission
To foster professional
information
counsellors

KOFAC

Research on
creative/interdisciplinary
educational policy

To secure recourses for creative


experience activities and DE to
nurture creative human
resources

EBS

To produce/distribute
various TV programs
related to career/school
admission

To produce/distribute good TV
programs related to
career/school admission

Depending on the agenda, other related organizations (Korea


Educational Development Institute, Korea Education & Research
Information Service, National Institute for Lifelong Education, and

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 193

National Youth Policy Institute) participate in the discussion as


needed.

B. Regional Level
The Ministry of Education established "Support Center for
Career/College Enrollment" in the city and provincial education
offices, to promote career education in unit schools and local
communities. Those support centers help policy establishment at
the city and provincial levels, and play a role in connecting the
MOE and specialized organizations with schools.
Support centers, where supervisors and counselling teachers who
are exclusively in charge of career/college enrollment, and other
experts

are

placed,

support

efficient

on-site

school

career

education, by identifying and developing organization models,


tailored to the unique situation of each region, and linking college
enrollment with career work. They also provide parents with
education

and

counselling,

along

with

career

and

college

enrollment data. In coordination with the "Parent Support Center"


under

NILE,

they

run

website

(www.allparents.go.kr)

to

systematize the information provided to parents. In addition, they


plan to place and utilize career counselling teachers and support
activities of the council to benefit these counselling teachers.
The ministry selects best practice city and provincial education
offices, identifies successful cases through performance analysis,
and holds experience events, discussions to disseminate them to
other regions.

194 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

C. School Level
The "Counselling Department for Career and College Enrollment"
in school is in charge of unit schools' career education and counselling
for college admission. The center consists of head teachers (career
counselling teacher), teachers (career, college enrollment), expert
counsellors, interns, and external specialists (career coaches and
industry-academia cooperation coordinators) (Refer to [Figure V-8]).
[Figure V - 8] Map of Teachers' Roles

Sources: MOE(2012), Reference book for career education policy ( II )

Career counselling teacher, as a unit school's head teacher for


career/college admission, handle all the work related to counselling
for

career/college

education

enrollment.

curriculum,

are

in

They
charge

make

plans

of

creative

for

career

experience

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 195

activities

(career

activities),

collect

and

provide

career

and

vocational information. They also make it possible to support


career coaching and preparation for college admission, through
career design, within public education.
Specialized counselling teachers (or professional counsellors)
work at schools and Wee Centers (support centers), to deal with
all kinds of adaption failure cases, which are becoming more and
more serious these days. They provide preventive counselling
services in cooperation with career counselling teachers.
The goal of policy for career counselling teachers, who are
specialized in career education-related work at schools, is to
provide quality career service, by allowing general teachers to
focus more on teaching other subjects, and special career teachers
to be in charge of career-related work.

4. Trends and Issues of Career Education

There are several categories of issues for the government policy


to support development of career education. Please refer to <Table
V-6> for current state and future issues of career education based
on vision for the development of career education.

196 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

<Table V - 6> Visions, Trends and Issues of Career Education


Vision

Current State of Career


Education

Trend and Issues

To increase the importance of


career education for all as a
bridge promoting life-long
Career education is focused on
Support
mid-level school, not supporting learning of all Koreans and
active employment policy
for
everyone's overall life courses
To highlight participation of
everyone's Way of communication of
overall life "school career education"
vulnerable youth in the labor
support policy of government
course
market, the State's public
ministries
policy that contributes to their
social integration, and its role
for reciprocity
The 6th Curriculum: designated
"career/Vocation" as an optional
To support clarification of the
course in the Industrial
position and identity of career
Technology and Home
education in the National
Economics courses
Curriculum
To
The 7th Curriculum (2002): 4
accommond A continued/quality
units were completed in the 2
teaching/learning manual to
date
and 3rd school year at academic
substantial
integrate career education into
high schools
national
every subject and guidelines
The 2009 revised curriculum:
curriculum
to connect career activity
"Career and Vocation" was
with creativity experience
expanded to be an optional
activity in the non-study area
course at middle/high school
required
and creative experience
activities
To
systemize
selection,
nurturing,

Agreed to in charge of career


education related to quality of
its performance
MOE placed career/school

To review qualitative
expansion of teachers solely
responsible for career
To review

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 197

admission counselling teachers


at middle/high school from
designation/operation of
2011 and provides training to
training provider exclusive for
enhance their expertise
career teachers to enhance
Career teachers qualification
their expertise
training of
training under progress
To review to create a major of
those in
Many problems arose:
Career Education at
charge of
concentrated education in a
teachers college and graduate
career
short period of time,
school for education to give
education
theory-concentrated teaching,
teachers-to-be for chance to
insufficient education
understand it and acquire
environment, poor understanding expertise in the process of
nurturing teachers
on school fields, and shortage
of lecturers

To support
utility of

career
education's
goals and
achieve
ment
standards
in the

field

Diversified review and


discussion required for
applicability and universal
In 2012, MOE provided research
validity of goals and
results on career education's
achievement standards at each
goals and achievement standards
life stage
Component of career
A guideline needed to show
development competency
how those goals and standards
highlighted depending on the
are converted and realized in
life stage
curriculum or programs at
Expansion of
school
curriculum-integrated career
A review required to guide
education
how career education can be
Contents under development to
realized in society where
use for school career education
life-long learning is required
for university students and
adults

Creation/ A necessity agreed on vocational To create/distribute career


distributio
research to create reliable and
information for the vulnerable
n of career accurate career information
to narrow the gap between
social
informatio Discriminatory aspect in

198 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

creation/distribution of
information created via
vocational research (ex,
n related
knowledge, skill, competence,
to
aptitude and interest, and
vocational
information qualifications required for job)
Insufficient career information
for the vulnerable stratum

Career
education
based on
legal
grounds

MOE pressing ahead with the


legislation of "Career Education
Promotion Act" to systemize
career education
The proposed bill includes
systematization career
education's grounds, targets,
content, system, and main actors
in public education, in order to
recognize career education as a
student's right and have the
state/local autonomous
governments responsible for it

classes/generations/regions
To establish a continued
"system to connect vocational
research with career
information" for
creation/distribution of
accurate career information
that continuously reflects the
changing labor market and
educational environment
To accelerate research to
develop new vocations and
occupations fit to each class
To distribute/spread career
information that is created
based on scientific vocational
research in various ways
To legislate a law to promote
career education
Review of career education in
a life-long learning context
and from a whole life course
perspective
To consider reciprocal
connection of pan-ministry
career guidance service,
considering MOE's recent
conversion of "career
education department" into
"career education human
resources policy" and cases of
public employment service's
involvement in school career
education of MOE-led
employment counselling

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 199

Refinement required to apply


detailed guidelines of related
laws without any problem
For career education support
infrastructure, many
development has made,
including the subject of "Career
and Vocation" was created in With the opening of the
national career education
2005, career teachers were
center, mentioned in the
placed, support for their
To secure
proposed "career education
capacity-building,
infrastrucpromotion act," national
creation/distribution of career
ture to
infrastructure to support
information, establishment a
support
career education to be
horizontal/vertical connection
continuous
enhanced, but research basis
system between organizations
career
to establish an advanced
With the establishment of a
education
support system is required,
department exclusively
along with evaluation on the
responsible for career education
existing support infrastructure
in MOE in 2010 at the central
level, career education work
became a core work of an
independent career education
policy bureau
To
increase
efficiency
of
organizations in
charge of
career
education
R&D

MOE established career


To enhance its status as a
information center at KRIVET,
career information center, a
entrusted it with career
central R&D organization for
education R&D
career education
With the launch of CareerNet, When a national career
career education-related content
education center, designated
was developed in earnest
by the career education
Contribution to revitalization of
promotion act, opens,
regional career information
discussions on differentiating
centers by horizontally/vertically it from career information
center under KRVET, and
connecting career education
R&D results with student,
other similar research centers,

200 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

and preview on cooperative


teachers, parents, and
relationship with it are
city/provincial education
required
officials, and providing a
A discussion required on
central-level role model in line
strategic leadership for
with goals and content of career
regional career information
education that the State pursues,
centers and horizontal/vertical
which was centered on college
connection at the
admission based on one's school
national/regional level as a
scores
central R&D center
To
advance
career
education
policy thru
continuous
overseas
exchange

Various measures are sought to


influence career guidance
related policy, as a means to
Review applicability of
raise efficiency and
OECD's career guidance
competitiveness of
policy issue to Korea
education/welfare/employment
and the recent OECD's active
labor market policy (OECD,
2004)

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 201

[Appendix] Changes in Major Career Educationrelated Policies (1982 to present)


Year

Major Policies

Content

1982

KEDI, started
research on career
education

1990

"Career Education
Department"
Teacher training was provided and career
established at every
education materials were devloped to
city/provincial
support school career education
education research
institutions

2001

The 1st Basic plan


for National HRD

Highlighted the State's responsibility for


career education

The 7th National


Curriculum

Creation of a subject of "Career and


Education" as an optional course at high
school
(2003) "Career and Vocation" distributed at
elementary/middle school

"Measures to
innovate career
education system"
established

Central/regional level career education


councils established/operated

"Measures to
establish support
system for national
career education"
devised

It was needed to make a five-year plan for


national career education

2002

2005

Researched and developed career education


program at primary/secondary school

202 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

2006

2009

A "five-year plan
to revitalize
life-long career
development
(2007~2011)" set

Jointly announced by nine ministries


- To invigorate career education at
elementary/middle school
- To support university students' entrance
into the labor market
- To support career development outside
school
- Gender equal career education for girl
students

2009 Revised
Curriculum

A concentrated course taking system,


carried out meaningful study activities thru
rationalization of study burden
Operated "creative experience activities"
Operation of career-concentrated course:
restructuring curriculum elective subjects by
level and area

Jointly announced by three ministreis


(MOE, MOHW, MOEL)
"Comprehensive
- To invigorate school career education
centering on experience
career education plan
2010.2
- To realize an equal career education
(2009~2013)"
service
established
- To advance career education support
system
"Career education
2011.3 bureau" created at
MOE

Creation of career educatino bureau, to


assume policy leadership for career
education at the central ministry level for
the first time in Korea

"Basic plan to
2010.1 recruit and use
career/school
0
admission

The first policy to place teachers in charge


of career
- 2011: basic direction was set for the
system of career/school admission

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 203

counselling teachers (1,500 teachers


placed)
- 2012: career/school admission counselling
teachers placed in cities/provinces (1,500
additionally selected)

counselling
teachers" devised

2013

MOE, "2013
measures to
invigorate career
education to
support tailored
career design"

To provide tailored career consulting


To run talent/aptitude-oriented curriculum
To strengthen career experience
Training to build career education capacity
To expand parents' participation in career
education
To revitalize career education support
system
Survey/evaluation on the current state of
career education

204 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

References
A.G. Watts, Killeen,, Kidd & Hawthorn (1996). Rethinking careers
education and guidance. T.J press ltd.
CEDEFOP (2004). Guidance policies in the knowledge society:
Trends, challenges and responses across Europe. A
CEDEFOP Synthesis Report.
Jeong Yun-Kyoung/Kim Na-Ra/Seo Yoo-Jung/Cho Hee-Kyeong
(2012). Roles of Elementary/Middle-level Career/School
Admission Counselling Teachers and Challenges Facing
Career Education. KRIVET
KRIVET (2012). Vision and Challenges of Vocational Competency
Development. Chapter 5: Career Education, written by Lee
Ji-Yeon
KRIVET (2012) Research Performance of KIRVET and Its Tasks
for the Next Five Years
Lee Ji-Yeon (2011). Trends & Issues of Career Education in
Korea, CDAA(Career Development Association of
Australia) International Career Conference (26-29 April
2011, Cairns, Australia.
Lee Ji-Yeon/Jeong Yun-Kyoung/Lee Jong-Beom (2010) Tasks of
Career Education for Nurturing Creative Talents. KRIVET
Lee Ji-Yeon (2009). Ways to innovate career education

to control

excessive college admission and expand TVET: Integration


of Career Education in Curriculum . BH Report
Lee Ji-Yeon (2009). Career education innovation to build capacity
for

life

plan:

Establishment

and

Admissinos Officer system. BH Report

connection

to

the

Chapter V. Trends and Issues of Career Education in Korea 205

Lee

Ji-Yeon/Choi Dong-Sun/Jung Il-dong (2005). Innovation


Measures Elementary/Middle Career Vocational Education.
KRIVET
Lee Ji-Yeon (2002), OECD Policies for Information, Guidance &
Counselling Services (II). Seoul: KRIVET
Lee Ji-Yeon

et

al.

(2001) OECD Policies

for

Information,

Guidance & counselling Services for Korea, KRIVET


Lee

Ji-Yeon

(2000)

Direction

for

career

guidance

program

development within school system in a preparation for a new


millenium, Trend in Vocations and Workforce, May Issue
MOE (2013). Measures to invigorate career education to support
tailored career design in 2013
MOE (2013). Reference book for career education policy
MEST (June 18, 2012) Placement of career teachers. Press release
on June 18, 2012
MEST (May 3, 2012) Notification to legislate the "Career
Education Promotion Act" to systematize career education.
Press release on May 3, 2012
MOE/MOEL/MOHWF (2010). Comprehensive career education plan
OECD (2004). Career guidance and public policy: Bridging the
gap. Paris: OECD.
OECD (2000). From Initial Education to Working Life: Making
Transitions Work, Paris: OECD.
OECD/CERI (1996). Mapping the Future. Young People and
Career Guidance, Paris: OECD.
OECD (2002). Why Career Information, Guidance and Counselling
Matter for Public Policy Working Draft #1.

Chapter VI.
Vocational Qualifications System
1. Introduction

205

2. Development of Vocational Qualification System 207


A. Vocational Training and the Vocational Qualification
System
207
B. Development of the Vocational Qualification System
through Legislation
210
C. The Blue print for Qualifications
214

3. Current State of the Vocational Qualifications


System in Korea
220
A. Current State of NTQ
222
B. National Qualification Supported by Individual Laws 229
C. Private Qualifications
232

4. Changes in Vocational Qualification System


and Nati- onal Competency Standards
233
A. The Necessity of the NCS
233
B. Current State of the NCS Development
238
C. Measures to Settle the NCS-based Qualification System 243

5. Conclusion

245

References

247

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 209

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System

Mee-Souk Kim10)

1. Introduction

As Korea is becoming knowledge-based society, the importance


of human resource development is being highlighted more than
ever

before.

Advancement

of

science,

especially,

the

rapid

development of information technology, has shortened the life


cycle

of

mastering

skills,

which

pressures

individuals

to

continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills. The demand for


lifelong education means that society's transformation into a
competency-based

society,

where

one's

skills

become

more

important than his/her educational background. These changes in


social/economic

environments

have

expanded

the

concept

of

10) Senior Researcher, Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education


and Training, mskim66@krivet.re.kr

210 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

qualifications in advanced nations, while making it important to


promote lifelong competency development. This makes it necessary
to renew the qualification system in Korea to meet current
requirements.
The vocational qualifications is an indicator that shows the
results of vocational education and training(VET), or human
resources

development(HRD),

and

representative

signaling

mechanism that links VET with the labor market. Therefore, the
vocational qualifications system is not a matter of the labor
market, but a core element of the HRD infrastructure, directly
related to education and training which is why the system
reorganization is

the core content of national HRD policy.

Vocational Qualifications are a mechanism that can harmoniously


realize the ideology of freedom and equality in the context of
education

and

training.

Their

functions

are

to

increase

an

individuals' economic value, and to promote movement of the


workforce in the labor market, allowing efficient demand and
supply and demand of manpower, required for not only the
existing industry and jobs, but also new areas.
This chapter will review industrial changes and the status of
the

vocational

qualifications

system,

take

look

into

its

development process as a major manpower training policy, along


with the current status of Korea's vocational qualification system,
and try to find ways to establish a new vocational qualification
system.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 211

2. Development of the Vocational Qualification


System

A. Vocational Training and the Vocational


Qualification System

The vocational qualification system in Korea is closely related


to the development of the vocational training system, and the
economic progress. At the early stage of the industrialization,
vocational qualifications were introduced as a means to certify
skills acquired through vocational training, at the national level.
In 1953, right after the Korean War, the Korean government
introduced the vocational training system for the following reasons.
First, the demand for technical workforce soared. According to the
"Survey on Technical Labor force in secondary and tertiary
industries the number of required skilled workers totaled 279,670
in 1961, the baseline year, and the estimated number rose to
485,293, in 1966, the target year. The new demand of 205,623
skilled workers meant that an average of 40,000 new workers was
required every year.
Second, there were so many unskilled workers, who were the
targets of the vocational training. Because of the preference for
academic schools, the ratio between students at academic and
vocational high schools was 70 to 30, which indicates a serious
avoidance of vocational schools. The main reasons were the

212 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

failure of the vocational education system to nurture a technical


workforce, required by the industry, due to not only insufficient
training content and equipment but also poor quality of teachers.
Also, there were too many non-skilled, unemployed adolescents,
who failed to enter into higher education. The proportion of
students who did not enter junior or high school, and college
were above 20%, 30%, and 80% of the graduates, respectively.
Third, an institutional mechanism was needed to encourage
employers because they were not active in nurturing skilled
workers. Prior to the vocational training system, the apprenticeship
system was introduced by a decree on training skilled workers,
under the Labor Standard Act. However, the system failed to
fulfill its original purpose, because of the lack of employers'
awareness and insufficient surrounding circumstances.
After numerous counselling from relevant ministries for a
prolonged period, vocational training system came into practice as
laws of vocational training were enacted in 1967. Such vocational
training system was thoroughly planned out in terms of supplying
technical professionals needed for industry development at the time
under the 5-year-plan for national economy development. The
management

role

for

supplying

technical

professionals

was

distributed to different ministries based on their technological


level. Ministry of Science & Technology was to manage R&D
manpower, Ministry of Education to manage three-year formal
technical training, and Ministry of Labor to manage vocational
training to foster short-term field technical professionals.
Even

after

the introduction

of

the job

training system,

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 213

incentives were needed to encourage unskilled workers to take


technical and vocational education and training(TVET). In order to
solve this problem, an skill test was included in the vocational
training act. The National Technical Qualifications(NTQ) Act was
legislated in 1973, to expand and institutionalize the skills test,
and to handle technical qualifications by law, which was dealt
with by individual government departments.
Also, the law was used as a mechanism to guarantee the
quality of the workforce, who were trained through the vocational
training system established in 1967. In other words, it was a
system created to issue a certification by testing the skilled
workforce, who were trained by various training providers under
different programs, with a unified test standard, to sort out
different competency levels. The NTQ was an incentive for
vocational training, and played its role in quality management of
the workforce. Anyone, who acquired a certification through this
process, could start to develop his/her career, as a technician in
industrial fields.
In

this

manner,

the

vocational

training

and

vocational

qualifications systems evolved, complementing vocational education


that provide the skilled workforce required for industrialization. In
short, the two systems developed on the two axis of quantity
assurance and quality management of those trained at training
institutions other than school.

214 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure

- 1] Progress of Vocational Training to Vocational

Qualification System

B. Development of the Vocational Qualification


System through Legislation
1) The National Technical Qualifications Act
The NTQ Act was proposed by the government in December
3, 1973, and was brought to the Council for Economy and
Science as Act No. 692. The intended objectives of the law were
listed below.
The former Ministry of Science & - Technology proposed the
bill

at

that

time

systematically

supported

the

advanced

industrialization policy, such as nurturing the heavy and chemical


industries, which was supported by the government. It was

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 215

important not only to mobilize and secure capital for the


successful implementation of the policy, but also to nurture and
provide a qualified workforce with specific skills and technical
training, in order to effectively put them in production. When
looking into the workforce proportion based on industrial structure,
it moved from agriculture to the manufacturing and service
industries at a rapid pace in the 1970s and 1980s. Accordingly, it
became essential to nurture and secure a workforce as required by
the advanced industrialization policy.
In particular, it was required to establish an appropriate NTQ
system, which could meet the demand of industrial technology
areas in the manufacturing sector, the nation's key industry. The
introduction of the national system was intended to increase the
qualifications of technical manpower and raise their social status;
to encourage and facilitate the improvement of technical education;
to secure the quality of skilled workers through other incentives;
and to systematize the currently scattered qualification system.
The key points of the bill are listed below.
First, to classify the technical qualifications into two categories:
technical and skill areas. (Article 3 of the proposal)
Second, those who acquired technical qualifications shall be
those who pass a NTQ examination, in accordance with this law.
(Article 4 of the proposal)
Third, for those who graduate from schools designated by
Presidential

Decree

among

various

vocational

and

technical

schools, and who complete vocational training in accordance with


the Vocational Training Act, it is mandatory to take a NTQ

216 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

examination

administered

by

the Minister of

Education and

ministers of other ministries in charge, respectively. (Article 5 of


the proposal)
Fourth, preferential treatment shall be prescribed for persons
who acquire a technical qualification (Article 10 of the proposal).
Fifth, the name and criteria for qualifications in technical and
skill areas shall be united in accordance with this law (Article 14
of the proposal).

2) Framework Act on Qualifications


The Framework Act on Qualifications was proposed to promote
vocational competency development
the system's credibility in

through the enhancement of

1997. To reach the goal, qualifications

system was divided into national and private ones, in response to


various demands for qualifications, stemming from the advancement
of industrial society. Also the act provide systematic and efficient
management/operation of the qualification system with qualification
providers, by determining fundamental matters concerning qualifications.
The key points of the bill are listed as follows. First, the State
shall formulate and execute measures necessary to ensure the
diversity of the qualification system, and maintain and enhance the
level and quality of qualifications, and promote private qualifications.
Second, those in charge of

management/operation of the

national qualifications may exempt persons, who acquire other


national qualifications, or private

qualifications accredited under

the law, and others who are prescribed in the law, from all or

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 217

part

of

the official

approval

process,

under

the conditions

prescribed by individual Acts and subordinate statutes.


Third, private qualifications shall be revitalized and their
credibility shall be enhanced by allowing any juristic person,
entity, or individual other than the State to establish private
qualifications, and manage or operate them, and be recognized the
private qualifications approved by the State.
Fourth,

the

State

shall

withdraw

qualifications, when recognized

recognition

of

private

private qualification managers

manage/operate the recognized private qualifications in a fraudulent


manner, or they fail to manage/operate as required by law.
Fifth, a person who has

acquired an recognized private

qualification shall be treated as equal to a person who has


acquired the national qualification, within the certain criteria and
scope, specified by Acts and subordinate statutes providing for
related national qualifications.
In this manner, the goals of the framework act of qualification
were to have different qualification managers for the revitalization
and diversification of private qualifications, and introduce an
recognized qualification system to enhance their credibility. As a
result, the act sought ways to promote participation of the private
sector in the qualification system, which was previously operated
in a way centered on national qualifications, and improve the
private qualifications system, by providing the credibility of
qualifications managed/operated by private qualification managers
through the national recognition system.
This clearly shows that the framework act was centered on

218 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

private qualifications, which is the main reason for the current


criticism against it. In short, the act is being accused of leaning
towards "private qualifications," even though it is named the
"Framework Act on Qualifications."

C. The Blue print for Qualifications


1) The 3rd Plan for the Advancement of the NTQ System
(2013~2017)
The NTQ system is an approval system that allows the State
to

test

and

certify

the level

of

knowledge/skill

acquisition

necessary to perform jobs in industrial fields. It also functions as


a mechanism to realize a competency-based society, by promoting
a smooth connection between companies and workers, allowing
efficient personnel management of companies, and facilitating the
systematic career development of workers, in this era of lifelong
competency

development.

The

whole

process

needs

to

an

systematic linkage, between the demand of industrial sites and to


the utilization of those who have acquired qualifications.
With

that in

mind,

3rd plan of the NTQ system for

2013~2017" was established and implemented. They resulted in the


gradual development of the National Competency Standards(NCS),
alignment

of

qualification

items,

and

the

enhancement

of

field-relatedness of the qualifications testing.


However, continuous quality management is required to realize

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 219

a competency-based society by enabling the NTQ to function well


in the labor market. In particular, active measures are needed at
the technical qualification system, to respond to the pressing issues
in

the labor

polarization,

market,
while

such

coping

as
with

low
the

fertility
demand

rate/aging,
for

and

advanced

techniques/skills from the industrial fields. In a bid to meet the


challenges, the 3rd plan of NTQ system was established, centered
on tasks related to the 2nd plan for 2010~2012, accommodating
improvements of its two predecessors and changes in the policy
environment.
<Table

- 1> Outline of the 1st and 2nd Plans

The 1st Plan

The 2nd Plan

Vision

To improve national
competitiveness

To realize competency-based
society through the advancement
of the NTQs system

Goal

To realize highly skilled


society via the establishment
of the virtuous cycle of
technical qualifications

Main
Tasks

To improve the
management framework of
the NTQs system
To reinforce the
field-relatedness of the
qualifications testing
To improve utility of those
qualified

To raise the utility of the NTQs

To re-design the NTQ


framework to make it suitable
to the industrial fields
To enhance filed-relatedness in
the operation of the NTQ system
To expand support for utility
of those qualified
To secure infrastructure of the
NTQ system

Source: Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL, 2012). "The 3rd Plan


of the NTQ System (2013~2017)".

220 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure
Vision

Goal

- 2] Vision and Targets of the 3rd Plan of NTQ system


Competency-based society where every can grow and be together
To support industrial/corporate growth/
innovation
To promote open employment and
life-long learning
Social integration thru skills mastering
and my "work"

Chan
ge

Dem
and

To nurture quality skilled workforce


customized to the fields

Tasks
to
Drive

To reinforce connection among


"work-VET-qualifications"
To run qualifications item/level suitable
to the industrial fields
To administer highly field-related
qualifications testing

To promote open employment, social


integration and life-long competency
development
To promote open employment and
social integration
To support life-long competency
development

To advance the operation qualifications system


To support a systematic development of the private qualifications
To improve the NTQ operation system

Source: Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL, 2012). "The 3rd Basic


Plan for Development of the NTQ System (2013~2017)"

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 221

2) The 2nd Plan for Management/ Operation of


Qualifications (2012~2016)
The

previous

Ministry

Technology(MEST)

of

Education,

formulated

Science,

nd

the

plan

and
for

management/operation of qualifications (2012~2016)" based on


Article 7 in the framework act on

qualification. Following its

predecessor (2009~2011), which had been designed and driven for


the comprehensive

management/operation
nd

system at the national level, the 2

of

the

qualifications

plan was devised as a

continued and advanced strategy, to effectively manage/operate


qualifications over the next five years.
To draw up the 2nd plan, achievements and limitations of its
predecessor were reviewed. It is a mid- and long-term strategy for
the

State

to

manage

and

operate

the

qualification

system

comprehensively. It hads three strategies and nine task items,


which would become the stepping stone for the advancement of
the qualifications system. It also laid the foundation for the
connection between work, vocational education and training, and
qualifications

through

the

NCS,

which

was

united

through

cooperation among related government ministries. task force team


on standards unification (February to August 2009) and the 56th
national policy coordination meeting (May 2010) according to the
1st plan made suggestions on the development and operation of
skill standard-based VET, providing direction for the standard
utilization.
Standard-based programs were developed and operated, on a

222 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

trial basis, in the landscaping and automotive repair sectors


(2009~2011, MEST). Also,

Continued efforts have been exerted

to enhance the parameters of qualifications system from the


management/operation perspective. To this end, items of the NTQ
were streamlined, resulting in the creation of four new items,
integration of 57 items into 25, and abolition of 16 items (2010,
MOEL). In an effort to strengthen management/operation of
recognized

private

qualifications,

the

Korean

Authorized

Certifications Association was set up and its code of ethics was


drawn up (2010).
However, there were limitations for providing direction of the
nd

plan through a comprehensive evaluation of the 1st plan

because yearly evaluation and monitoring was insufficient for the


1st plan, and was nothing more than a review of each task's
results. For example, the first comprehensive appraisal was carried
out on yearly implementation plan in 2011 (none from 2009 to
2010), and the generalization and control of Ministry of Education
was lacking in for the management/operation of the qualification
system. As it shows, the goal of the 1st plan, which was to
establish a full range of management/operation systems, including
formulating

network

among

government

ministries

and

streamlining similar qualifications, was not met.


With this taken into account, the vision and goal, and major
tasks of the 2nd plan (2012~2016) are set as shown in [Figure
VI-3]. The vision is to create a virtuous cycle of work, vocational
education and training(VET), and qualifications, and the goal is to
reinforce the connection among industrial sites, VET , and the

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 223

qualification system. To this end, three major tasks and seven


sub-tasks are selected.
[Figure

- 3] Strategy and Tasks of the 2nd Plan for Management

Operation of Qualifications
To lay the foundation for
connection between
Work-VET-Qualifications

1. To expand development/utility of the NCS


2. To introduce a NCS-based NTQ
3. To establish the National Qualification
Framework(NQF)

To enhance
management/operation of
qualifications

4. To improve the quality assurance system of


qualifications
5. To expand mutual recognition with other nations and
international recognition of qualifications

To establish qualification
system

6. To strengthen the generalization and control function


of the qualifications system
7. To build qualification information system

Source: The MEST (2011). The 2nd Basic Plan for Management
Operation of Qualification Systems (Provisional) (2012~2016).

3. Current State of the Vocational Qualifications


System in Korea

According to the Framework Act on Qualifications, "national


qualifications" are qualifications which are

instituted, managed,

224 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

operated and issued by the State, and "private qualifications" as


"those which are instituted, managed, operated, and issued by a
person, institution, and entity other than the State" (the Framework
Act on Qualifications, 2011). Again, qualifications, of which the
State is in charge, are categorized into two: "NTQ" in accordance
with "the NTQ Act"; and "national qualifications" prescribed by
individual Acts and subordinate statutes. There are three types of
private qualifications: "recognized private qualifications," "registered
private qualifications," and "in-house private qualifications".
<Table

- 2> Classification and Current State of Vocational


Qualifications in Korea (as of April, 2012)

The NTQ

No. of Items

Related Laws

Organ in Charge

512

National
Qualifications Act
(MOEL)

17 ministries
(7 organizations)

National
National
Qualiqualifications
149 qualifica- 75 individual laws
fica(Individual
under
tions (833 or
tion
ministries)
individual
so items)
laws
Acreditted
private
qualifications

PriRegistered
vate
private
Qualifica- qualifications
tion
In-house
qualifications

26 ministries
government
agenciescommittees

88*

Framework Act on
Qualifications
(MOE)

12 government
departments
(53 organizations)

about 4,000

Framework Act on
Qualifications
(MOE)

855 organizations

116

Employment
Insurance Act
(MOEL)

55 Establishments

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 225

Note:*Since private qualifications have to undergo the registration process


before the process to be reviewed by the State, the "88
recognized private qualifications," referred in this table, are
overlapped in 4,000 registered private qualifications.
Source: KRIVET (2012), "Private Qualification Information"; Human
Resources Development Service of Korea(HRD Korea, 2012),
"Information on the National Technical Qualification Examination";
HRD Korea (2012). "Q-net"; Kim Mee-souk et al. (2012)
"Analysis of Continuing Professional Education(CPE) for Licensed
National Qualifications" KRIVET.

A. Current State of NTQ


1) Current State of NTQ Items
The NTQ system was established on December 31, 1973, when
the NTQ Act was legislated and promulgated as Act No. 2672.
There

are

two

categories

in

the

NTQ:

qualifications

for

technical/skill areas, and service area. The former has five skill
levels of qualifications: Professional Engineer,

Master Craftsman,

Engineer, Industrial Engineer, and Craftsman. These qualifications


are managed by 17 or so related government ministries and
agencies, under MOEL in accordance with the NTQ Act.
Testing for NTQ is operated by 7 public organization; HRD
Korea, KORCHAM, Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, Korea Film
Council, Korea Creative Content Agency, Korea Communications
Agency, and Mine Reclamation Corporation. Regular monitoring is

226 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

conducted,

and

when

qualification

items

are

detected

with

problems in their utility, they are investigated to determine the


actual state and to reform them.
<Table

- 3> Changes in the NTQ Items

Industrial
profe Mast- EngiCrafts- AssiService Area
Engineer
-ssio er Cr neer
man stant
nal a ft s - (Engi
(Crafts Cra- AdvGeneengin man -neer Indust-man fts- anced Basic ral
-eer
level rial En Crafts- l e v e l man office office (other)
Sum
admi1)
servigineer man 2)
admin
nistrace
(Engine ( le ve l
istration
-er
tion
1)
(Level
(Level
level 2)
(Level
3,
2)
single)
1)
1974 727

86

88

58

49

156

163

127

1980 759

91

89

62

51

162

169

135

1990 904 105

80

80

73

142

222

150

31

21

2000 590

97

31

98

131

193

18

16

2012 512

84

27

103

110

157

10

10

3 8

Source: e-national indicators. http://www.index.go.kr/egams/stts/jsp/portal/stts.

In particular, the skills level of qualification and the magnitude


of qualification items are being redesigned. Based on the "NCS,"
which reflects the industrial fields' demand for skills, a plan is
being gradually devised to redesign (subdivide) the skill levels of
the NTQ. Based on "occupational maps," which are drawn for
each industry area, skill levels of qualification are redesigned

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 227

through comparison/analysis of the NCS and NTQ. Currently, a


plan is under review to break down the qualification level of
"Engineer," and "Professional Engineer" and "Master Craftsman,"
to meet the growing demand for highly skilled workers in the
future. And also, it is under discussion to align the types of
Industrial Engineers, some of which are overlapped with Craftsman
and Engineer levels. And it is possible to measure various skill
levels for Craftsman in the basic skill areas, by improving the
content and methods of testing.
For areas where the convergence of job

performance is

required, job units are being integrated according to qualification


items, which are broken down into individual job units. After
modifying the names of qualification items first, a phase-in
integration of skill types will be carried out, after adapting the test
method, including the introduction of common subjects in all areas.
[Figure
Qualification

Skill
level

- 4] The Structure of NTQ's Skill level and Items(Example)


Professional
Engineer
Master
Craftsman
Engineer

------------->

Industrial
Engineer
Craftsman

Item (Welding
engineer)

Machine
manufacture

Welding

Electrical

Qualifi
cations

item

Source: MOEL (2012) "The 3rd Basic Plan for Development of


the NTQ System (2013~2017)".

228 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

As of the end of 2012, the NTQ consists of five skill levels


in 26 job areas, 61 sub-job areas with 512

items.

2) Change in the Number of Aquisitors of NTQ


The number of those who were certified for the NTQ, along
with the number of those who took the testing, was on upward
trend from 1996 to 2000, but it began to decline after 2001. In
2001, the number of those qualified for the NTQ rose by 524,444
(78.3%) from 1996.
It

can

be

explained

by

couple

of

reasons.

First,

informatization and information technology, which started to draw


attention in 1998, were behind the rise. As the number of people
who acquired the certification for the word processor item
increased, new items were created for the computer literacy area
in

1999,

which

led

to

further

growth

in

the number

of

certification holders. Second, the foreign currency crisis that hit


the nation hard at the end of the 1990s, which caused the number
of the unemployed to soar (568,000 in 1997 to 1.490 million in
1998 and 1.374 million in 1999), is to blame. As the social
awareness on employment shifted from life-long employment to a
life-long career, an increasing number of people acquired the
NTQ.
However, the number of national certification holders has been
decreasing since 2001, and the downward trend is expected to
continue

because

administrative

less

service

people

areas

for

acquired
several

qualifications
reasons.

First,

in
the

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 229

population in school ages, who mainly took the NTQ examination


(ex, the number of graduates from vocational high schools
dropped by 25.4%, from 201,047 in 2000 to 216,871 in 2005).
Second, with the introduction of the national accreditation system
for private qualifications in 2000, test takers moved to IT-related
private qualifications (4 items in 2006), which are similar to their
national counterparts. Third, as the IT sector advances and is
specialized, and information literacy competency becomes universal,
a decreasing number of people acquire qualifications for word
processing, a basic IT item.
[Figure

- 5] Current State of Those who Took the NTQ Testing


Current State of Those who Took the NQT
Testing

Test-takers (persons)

Change (%)

Yearly No. of
Test-Takers

Year-on-year
Change

Source: e-Statistic Korea. http://www.index.go.kr/egams/stts/jsp/potal/stts.

230 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

[Figure

- 6] Current State of Those who Acquired the NTQ


Current State of Those who Took the NQT
Testing

Test-takers (persons)

Change (%)

Total

Year-on-year,
%

Source: e-Statistic Korea. http://www.index.go.kr/egams/stts/jsp/potal/stts.

Currently, the accumulated number of those qualified in


technical/skill areas amounted to 9.27 million, and when combined
with the number of those in service areas (17.25 million), the
number reaches 26.52 million in total (December 2006). This
means that more than a half of the economically active population
holds more than one qualification. By qualification area, 34.9%
are in technical/skills sectors, and the rest (65.1%) are in the
service sector. Among those in the first group, those who are
qualified as Craftsman took the lion's share (75.6%), followed by
Industrial

Engineers

(12.6%),

Engineers

(11.4%),

Professional

Engineers (0.3%), and Master Craftsman (0.1%). The figure


reveals the fact that most of qualification holders are composed of
those with mid-level skills or lower, as the proportion of
Professional Engineers,

Craftsman, and Engineers, the highly

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 231

skilled, high-tech workforce, took a mere 10% of the entire skilled


workforce.
<Table

- 4> The Trend in the Number of NTQ Holders by


Skill Level
(Unit: persons, %)

2003

Sum

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

1,110,557 1,047,006 1,080,461 1,100,239 1,008,833 834,963 856,699 750,220 634,061

YOY %

-7.3

-5.7

3.2

2.6

-8.3

-17.2

2.6

-12.4

-15.5

professional
engineer

1,227

1,167

1,388

1,676

1,806

1,905

2,096

1,929

1,668

Master
Craftsman

1,113

1,458

2,997

1,671

1,751

1,654

1,977

2,342

3,061

Engineer

73,087

87,250

102,264 119,355

80,484

66,507 68,329 53,814 55,352

Industrial
Engineer

62,044

71,682

91,417

90,551

73,432 64,821 49,310 43,559

117,918

Craftman 350,075 349,799 356,926 333,676 329,188 345,041 387,335 365,391 345,697
Assistant
Office
Service

623,011 535,650 525,469 525,943 505,053 346,424 332,141 277,434 184,724

Source: HRD Korea "The National Technical Qualifications Statistical


Yearbook".

With a reduction in the number of people taking the NTQ


testing, the number of qualification holders is expected to maintain
the downward trend in general. However, it is anticipated that the

232 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

acquisition

rate

of

Craftsman

will

decrease,

while

that

of

Engineers and Industrial Engineers will enjoy a relative increase,


due to a growing number of people with higher education, evasion
of vocational high schools, and reduced demand for workers with
simple skills due to production automation.
In

particular,

it

is

necessary

to

continuously

develop

qualifications in new industrial areas, while reorganizing the NTQ


or highly-skilled, multi-function qualifications, in order to meet the
changing demand of the workforce, caused by a shift in industrial
structure and technology advancement.

B. National Qualification Supported by Individual


Laws
The

term

"national

qualifications"

means

qualifications,

instituted, managed and operated by the State in accordance with


Acts and subordinate statutes (Article 2, Provision 4 of the
Framework Act on Qualifications). These national qualifications are
distinguished between "national qualifications" in accordance with
subordinate statutes (hereafter referred to as "individual laws") of
each government ministry, and "NTQ" in accordance with the
NTQ act under MOEL.
National qualifications supported by individual laws, mentioned
above, are referred to as licensed national qualifications. According
to Article 11 of the framework act (Institution of National

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 233

Qualifications,

etc.),

the

head

of

central

administrative

organization may institute national qualifications for the following


sectors: 1) Sectors directly connected to the life, health, and safety
of people; 2) Sectors directly connected to the public interest such
as national defense, public security, education and national key
industries;

3)

Sectors

in

which

the

operation

of

private

qualifications is difficult due to low demand for the acquisition of


qualifications; and 4) Other sectors deemed necessary by the State.
Concerning these national qualifications, the State stipulates
activities in concerned areas by law, and sets provisions for
issuance of national certifications. In other words, the central
government or the head of a central administrative organization is
the main subject with the authority to issue a certification, and
delegates and entrusts management/operation on the issuance to
reliable

institutions.

Nonetheless,

some

of

the

national

qualifications may be instituted by the State, but not managed by


the central government ministries, rather by the local autonomous
governments, or national-level associations of occupations. For
example, a taxi drivers' license is under the responsibility of the
Ministry of Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, or
city mayors and provincial governors, but licenses are issued by
the head of the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi
Association. As for travel conductor certification, it is instituted in
accordance with the Tourism Promotion Act and decree of the
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, but certifications are
issued for cases, which are recognized as qualified by related
sectors' tourism associations, after they receive applications.

234 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

In

order

to

determine

the

current

state

of

national

qualifications, an analysis was run for 75 individual laws for 132


known qualifications as of 2011, and 17 qualifications were added
afterward. Among them, 149 national qualifications were finally
reviewed after the merger of the qualification for aircraft shop
mechanics

into

aircraft

mechanics.

In

particular,

national

qualifications were re-examined to confirm whether or not those


provided under individual laws met the following three criteria: 1)
Does a law actually exist for a concerned qualification?; 2) Is the
issuing agency delegated/entrusted by government ministries or by
the law?; 3) Does a qualification fall into the category of
institution range for national qualifications, in accordance with the
basic

qualifications

law?

After

this

process,

there are 833

qualification items confirmed, under 149 national qualifications,


which can be divided by government ministries in charge.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 235

<Table

- 5> Current State of National Qualifications by


Ministries in Charge
Ministries in Charge

Ministries
(12)

Administrations
(1)

Agencies
(9)

MOEL
MEST
Ministry of National Defence
Ministry of Land, Transport and
Maritime Affairs
Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Ministry of Knowledge Economy
Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Ministry of Public Administration and
Security
Ministry of Environment

No. of
Qualifications
4
8
1
34
10
14
2
35
1
2
1
2

National Court Administration

Korean National Police Agency


Korea Customs Service
National Tax Service
Cultural Heritage Administration
Korea Forest Service
National Emergency Management
Agency
Small & Medium Business
Administration
Korea Intellectual Property Office
Korea Coast Guard

4
2
3
2
2
3
2
1
1

236 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Fair Trade Commission


1
Financial Services Commission
4
Commissions
Korea Communications Commission
2
(4)
Nuclear Safety and Security
7
Commission
26 Government ministriesAdministrationAgenciesCommissions/149
Qualifications/ 833 Items

C. Private Qualifications
1) Private Qualifications
Private qualifications started for abacus calculation, book
keeping, and typing, in the office administrative sector, in 1959,
and the number of private qualification items continued to
increase, after the implementation of the Framework Act on
Qualification in 1997. As of April 2013, the number of 'registered
private qualifications reached about 4,000 in total, which are
managed/operated by some 855 institutions. Among them, 53
institutions and 88 items are recognized private qualificaion by
the State.
There are private qualifications in many areas, most of which
are not covered by national qualifications, including management,
finance, trade, computer, languages, beauty, athletics in public,
liberal arts, hobbies, medical care, interpersonal services, and in
particular, they are concentrated in education, social welfare, and

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 237

sports/health, computer and information technology. Concerning the


number

of

qualification

items,

which

applied

for

national

recognition in 2012 (2000~2011), the previous Ministry for Health,


Welfare, and Family Affairs topped with 275 items, followed by
MEST (233), the former Ministry of Knowledge Economy (206),
and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (117).

2) In-house Qualification
In-house qualifications are qualifications, run by an employer
by oneself or as a group, for skills development of one's
employees,

which

are

given

after

evaluating

an

employees'

vocational competency for related occupations based on certain


criteria. The goal of industry certificates is to nurture a workforce
suitable for the concerned fields, in order to secure manpower that
can perform jobs specialized for each company. As of January
2013, some 118 occupations in 57 companies are certified as
industry qualifications. Cases in point are Grade 2 Dunkin Barista
of BR Korea, Logistics Energy Expert of Kyung-dong ENS,
Health and Medical Care Information Analyst of the Health
Insurance Review and Assessment Service, and Nail Care Master
of AMORE PACIFIC.

238 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

4. Change in Vocational Qualification System and


the National Competency Standards
A. The Necessity of the NCS
The attention to the NCS dates back to the reform in the
qualifications system in 1996, to enhance the connection between
career

education

introduction

of

and
the

qualifications.
NCS

and

the

After

the

restructuring,

national

qualifications

framework(NQF) were discussed and developed on a trial and


demonstration stage. MOEL developed 191 occupations for the
National Occupational Standards(NOS) from 2002 to 2008, and the
former Ministry of Education Human Resources Development
developed 14 occupations in Korea Skill Standard(KSS) from 2003
to 2008.
The NOS measures performance outcomes, set by determining
what is expected of an individual to perform in a concerned
occupation. The NOS, developed by employers, describes skills,
knowledge and the understanding required to perform a job at a
workplace. It is composed of the name, outline, performance
evidence, knowledge and understanding, range of job context,
factors, and values and behaviors. In the case of the UK, it is
used as a basis for National Vocational Qualification(NVQ) and
Scottish Vocational Qualification(SVQ). The KSS, is a national
document

used

as

consistent

performance

criteria

for

education/training and qualification testing. It describes standardized

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 239

knowledge, skills, and attitude required for performing jobs, and


issues related to the assessment of the aforementioned three
requirements. In April 2007, with the revision of the framework
act on qualifications, legal grounds were laid out for development
of the NCS, but the standard was developed, while using terms
differing from one another.
Along these lines,

MOEL and former MOE have operated the

NOS and the KSS separately, which caused confusion among


those who used the standard for self-evaluation and career
development decision. Also, it was concerned that it could
undermine international recognition of Korean standards in mutual
recognition

with

national

qualifications

and

human

resources

exchange, because of the lack of standards, based on NQF.


That is why the government held a national policy coordination
meeting, presided by the Prime Minister, in order to unify
standards in May 2010, which had been operated separately by
the National Competency Standards(NCS). The Korean name for
the NCS was decided to remain as it is. Article 2, Provision 2 of
the Framework act on qualification

stipulates, "The Term "NCS "

means knowledge, skill , attitude, etc. required for the performance


of occupational duties at industrial sites, which are systemized by
the State by industrial sector and level."
MOEL became the single ministry in charge of developing
government-led

NCS.

By

developing

efficiency,

related

organizations and their roles were set: the MOE and MOEL,
would be jointly in charge of the plan for NCS and NQF;
KRIVET of related research and support; and HRD Korea of the

240 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

actual development of NCS.


In relation to development and utilization of the NCS, the
following should be considered. First of all, in principle, the
industrial community directly develops it through Sectors' HRD
Councils(SHRDC) or associations/organizations, in order to closely
reflect demand from industrial sites. HRD Korea shall supervise
the overall development, but if there is no related organization,
the corporation should develop it on its own. Supervision of
overall development includes reports of the development progress
to the Ministries in charge of the standards, budget, consulting/
management of development institution (including SHRDC), and
standard quality assurance. The labor minister will discuss the
reports with other ministers in charge, to lay the groundwork for
development of standards for areas, where they need to be
developed in connection with industries (the enforcement decree of
the basic qualification act to be revised).
In a bid to promote the use of the NCS, the newly developed
standards will be used to revise standards for vocational training
and criteria for NTQ testing. Please refer to [Figure VI-7] for a
comparison of the NCS, training standards , and testing criteria.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 241

[Figure

- 7] Comparison of NCS-Training Standards Testing

Criteria
NCS

Training Standard

Question Criteria

Section (20)

Section (24)

Job area (26)

Division (71)

Division (60)

Sub-job area(61)

Class/ Occupations(826)

Training vocations (208)

Qualification items (512)

Competency unit group

Employable unit

Test subject

Competency unit

Training content

Maor items

Competency unit
components

Detailed training content

Minor items

Group (212)

Performance Evidence

Sub-minor items

Source: MOEL (2012). "The 3rd Plan of the NTQ System" (2013~2017).

The NCS was applied first, and best practices cases were
actively

discovered

and disseminated

in

VET

curriculum at

Polytech universities and other training providers. In particular,


curriculum is to be reorganized for short courses less than a year
first, and then, reorganization will be gradually expanded to longer
courses. On top of this, additional points can be given to
institutions in a training provider appraisal, when curriculum/
teaching material are developed using the NCS. It is necessary to
find ways to expand financial support for the development of

242 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

curriculum

and

expansion,

while

teaching
reflecting

materials,
on

the

consulting,
unique

and

facility

characteristics

of

vocational high schools/vocational colleges.


Finally, a "NCS based qualifications system" needs to be
introduced,

to systematically connect

VET

with

qualifications,

thereby placing jobs conducted in industrial fields at the center. The


completion-based system is to certify trainees, who have completed
VET

courses

that

satisfy certain

requirements

(including the

NCS-based curriculum), to meet the demand of the industrial fields.


From 2013 to 2017, testing-based and NCS based systems may
run in parallel, while introducing the latter to some areas for the
Craftsman/Industrial Engineer levels, and then, phase-in expansion
would be possible, after establishing a successful model, to other
areas. Concerning the system to exempt those in vocational high
schools from written examination for Craftsmanship, it can be
gradually converted to apply the NCS based qualification system.
In the conversion process, a recalculation of the qualifications'
credit transfer ratio may be considered in the Credit Bank System.
Most of all, it requires the management of the system's quality,
and to secure public confidence through strict quality assurance
system of NCS-based VET curriculum.

B. Current State of the NCS Development


There are 35 NCS items developed and recognized so far.
However, HRD Korea has developed and used the NOS as testing
standards and training criteria since 2002, and the number of

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 243

items has reached 247. Please refer to <Table VI-6> for the
confirmed/notified

NCS

by area

and their development

into

programs.
<Table
Area

Machine

- 6> The NCS and Their Development into Programs


Items

The NCS (ConfirmedNotified)


Machine installation and maintenance
(2009)
Ship production design (2009),
ship-building
Production management (2009)
Auto repair (2010)

Electrical/
Electronics

Information
Technology

Program

Auto repair
(1 for vocational
college)

Semiconductor equipment
manufacturing operation (2009),
Embedded system (2009),
electronics circuit board design and
development (2009), power
transmission supply facility
installation and operation (2009),
electrical device design manufacture
control (2009), industrial instrument
control (2009), mobile communication
terminal (2009)
Web design (2009)

Web design
(1 for vocational
college)

Mobile content programing (2009)

Mobile content
programing
(1 for vocational
college)

IT consulting (2009)

244 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Management
Clerical
work

Construction
Maritime
affairs

16

Tax (2009)
Budgetfund management (2009)

Architecture (2008)

Architecture
(3 types for
specialized high
school,
vocational
college,
& university)

Civil engineering (2008)

Landscape architecture (2008)

Landscape
architecture
(3types for
specialized high
school,
vocational
College
& university)

Cadastration (2008), masonry(2009),


plastering work (2009), tile (2009),
waterproofing (2009), iron (2009),
reinforced concrete (2009),
painting (2009), carpentry (2009),
windows and doors (2009), molding
(2009), Scaffolding (2010), paper
(2010)
Defence

Helicopter repair (2010), deep sea


diving (2010), air accouterments
maintenance (2010)

Sum

35

9 items*

Note: * The five curriculums, which are based on not confirmed/


notified standards (semiconductor design/development), are
excluded.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 245

Although the NCS can be used in various areas from school


education

to

vocational

training,

qualification,

and

company/

individual competency development, its actual usage is insufficient,


to some extent, due to the limited number of applicable standards.

C. Measures to Settle the NCS-based Qualification


System
The NCS-based
qualifications

and

qualification system connects


VET.

Its

main

goal

is

to

work

with

create

competency-based society, by developing qualifications and running


VET, with vocational competency at the center. The following
items should be preceded to help the NCS-based qualification
system take root.
First, a classification system, on which development shall be
based, should be prepared to make an NCS development plan, all
of which would result in the prevention of redundant development
and omission of the NCS and accuracy in budget compilation.
Also, it can be a way to secure field-relatedness in information
creation for the NCS-based VET and qualification.
Second, quality control of the proposed standard and its draft
proposal should be included. In the case of standard development
ordered by the government, the screening is needed to a large
extent, to secure validity and field-relatedness of the development
process and the results, because actual development is carried out
by the private sector (SHRDC, vocational competency institutions

246 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

by industry and by occupation) (ground: Article 4, Provision 2 of


the Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Qualifications).
In particular, in a bid to secure reliability and validity of
screening (review), development and screening (review) it should
be conducted by separate entities.
Third, an institution should be selected to develop

and

manage a manual for standards development and their usage. It is


an important foundation, which is directly connected to the entire
NCS project area, including selection of areas and fields for
standards development, quality assurance, application and feedback.
Continued research is

also

required to survey and analyze

desirable usage of standards in VET curriculum, qualifications and


users' demand (feedback).
Fourth, implementation subject and its roles should be defined,
according to the NCS development and utilization. They should be
set based on major components of the NCS system and its
development and utilization procedures.
Fifth,

support

system

should

be

established

for

the

enhancement of the industries' expertise and competence for


standards development.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 247

5. Conclusion

The roles and functions of vocational qualifications, which have


been the backbone of and the driving force behind Korea's
economic development so far, need to be systematized, in order to
accommodate changes in time and society, and meet social
expectations.
This requires some considerations to increase the use of
vocational qualifications, and development and use of the NCS in
a way to enhance the cooperation between VET and work.
The NCS, which is systemized by industrial sector and level, is
about core competencies, required to perform occupational duties
at industrial sites, and they are developed by SHRDC or a
representative organization, while being recognized
Efficiency

of

education

investment

is

by the State.

expected

to

increase

substantially, by making connections between the industrial field,


VET

and

qualifications,

and

using

the

standards

for

VET

curriculum and qualification criteria. Considering that it is only an


initial stage to develop and use the NCS, both government support
and specialists' consulting are required to develop the necessary
foundation for utilization by the stakeholder (training providers,
qualification testing organizations, etc.). At the same time, as there
is room for improvement in creating the necessary environment,
such as consensus among those involved, to develop and use the
standards, early discussion is required for related organizations to
speed up the entire process.

248 Vocational Education and Training in Korea

Last, NQF needs to be established for life-long vocational


competency development. The UK and other advanced nations are
running qualifications framework, which cover VET , and various
forms of study learning results, by using NQF. In particular, the
UK

introduced

new

style

of

Qualifications

and

Credit

Framework(QCF) from 2008, which provides credits and level for


skills and qualifications, depending on study hours and level,
turning every competency unit and qualification into credits.
Likewise, Korea needs to prepare organizations in charge of the
management and operation for their responsibilities, to allow NQF
to take root as a qualified management system, by establishing a
system that links qualifications with lifelong learning.

Chapter VI. Vocational Qualifications System 249

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