Seoul City unveiled its plan to build the infrastructure for ‘a lifetime learning city’ by 2014, in order to allow citizens to enrich their educational and cultural knowledge.
Despite the onset of an era of lifetime learning, as life expectancy has increased along with the demand for new knowledge, lifetime learning has remained a blind spot where governmental support was concerned compared with the regular educational system.
To resolve the issues related to lifetime learning, Seoul City announced the ‘5-Year Comprehensive Plan for Lifetime Learning,’ which consists of 21 projects, including nine subjects, including construction of the Lifetime Learning Center and expansion of the Continuing Education Center in the Seoul-style University. From this year, the city plans to spend a total of 63 billion won (US$55.7 million), over the next five years, to build the infrastructure for lifetime learning.
Seoul City first intends to build three or four tentatively-named ‘Seoul Citizens’ Lifetime Learning Centers,’ which will develop polices that reflect citizens’ demand for lifetime learning and which will both run online and offline educational programs. The centers will be built at three or four sites where public institutions would be moved. In addition, the Continuing Education Center, affiliated with University of Seoul, will be expanded to include the ‘University of Seoul Citizens’ Lifetime Learning’ to provide classes ranging from liberal arts for citizens to their main interests.
Also, Seoul City plans to launch a ‘Cyber Learning Center’ where citizens can enrich their knowledge through online educational programs. What’s more, the city will start a ‘Learning Call Center’ to offer person-to-person consultations and information services on lifetime learning. A ‘Lifetime Learning Information Network’ will be built to provide information on locations, addresses and other important facts about institutions for lifetime learning.
As part of its five-year plan, Seoul City will designate a university per local district as a ‘Seoul-style University of Lifetime Learning.’ Accordingly, a total of 25 universities will be receive such a designation to provide customized educational programs for young workers, working mothers and elderly adults. Other initiatives include a program to help high-school graduates find jobs and another to provide both vocational education and childcare services to housewives with babies.
Throughout the five-year plan, Seoul City said it plans to increase the city’s participation rate in lifetime learning to 40 percent by 2014, higher than the average rate of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.