March 28, 2003
The educational sector in Korea

The details of this story, courtesy the Korea Times, don't interest me so much as does its overall tone. You surely wouldn't see a British newspaper, of any political hue, talk so candidly about the "education sector".

Foreign universities will be allowed to establish branches here leading local language institutes and other education providers to face tougher competition in the near future.

This is part of the government's recently-finalized plan to open up various service sectors to the foreign market, officials from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development said yesterday.

The proposal to open up the educational sector will be submitted to the World Trade Organization by Monday as part of the commitment under the Doha Development Agenda that calls member countries to develop a list of ideas to open domestic service sectors to foreign competition.

The ministry said it is inevitable to open the educational service market in the face of the new economic round to increase competitiveness of local educational institutions.

A constant theme here is that if a nation is flagging in its commitment to education, merely chucking teachers at the problem won't change things very much. (Example: Britain.) South Korea, on the other hand, reads at least in this article like a society that contains within itself such an urge towards educational advance that no amount of mere pedagogic inadequacy can hold it back. Demand simply demands its own supply into existence, or in this particular case, it sucks supply in from foreign parts.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:14 AM
Category: Free market reforms