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Korea: University chiefs seek new educational models

Leaders of 50 universities around the globe gathered in Seoul to discuss emerging changes in higher education in the 21st century and provide new educational models utilizing the rapidly advancing information technology.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is hosting the 2012 International Presidential Forum for Global Research Universities attended by 70 presidents and vice presidents of 50 universities from 26 nations.

Among the participants are Gene Block, chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); Bertil Andersson, president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; Don Nutbeam, vice chancellor of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom; Anders Bjarklev, president of the Technical University of Denmark; and Suh Nam-pyo, president of KAIST.

Other attendants are some 50 government officials, including those from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, as well as business and industry representatives from organizations such as the networking equipment company Cisco, the publishing company Elsevier, Korea Telecom and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The top educators will be giving presentations and participating in panel discussions on the topic of “Effective Education and Innovative Learning.”

Chancellor Block, who will be delivering a keynote speech, said “Globalization, innovation and the knowledge-based economy, accelerated by the technology advancement in the 21st century, dictate research universities to embrace new challenges.”

He added that research universities need greater collaboration in education and research across international borders and a global presence to remain competitive and relevant to the rapidly expanding market in higher education.

KAIST President Suh will introduce the school’s “Education 3.0” program that was implemented early this year. The program has students studying in groups through discussions and collective problem solving based on lectures provided online. It contrasts with the conventional method of learning which centers on lectures by professors.

Students at KAIST have responded positively to the new educational model, and the number of classes incorporating this method is increasing at the school.

“With our Education 3.0 initiative, we have demonstrated how the educational infrastructure of modern universities can be improved by increasing the efficacy of the pedagogical process,” said Suh.

He will also give a presentation on “KAIST International Education Initiative” which offers education ― based on the core values of being internationalized, IT-based, individualized and integrated ― to advance higher education worldwide.

In addition, KAIST and the Technical University of Denmark will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will enable them to establish a cyber dual degree program in the field of digital media engineering,

The forum hosted annually by KAIST is in its fifth year since its inception in 2008. Over the years it has established itself as an international network for leaders of research universities around the world to share information and exchange views about contemporary issues in higher education.

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