INCHEON, South Korea – A Korean government-run educational institution is aiming to have more partnerships and collaborations with Philippine universities and colleges as it expands its global network.
Korea Polytechnics (KOPO), established in 1968, “is the only public and leading college for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with 50 years of history.”
In July 2018, KOPO and the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) in Balanga, Bataan signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration.
“About 30 professors of BPSU came to Korea to teach Korea Polytechnic students for three weeks,” Professor and Director Ahn Jongbok of KOPO’s Industrial Partnership Department told The Manila Bulletin during a visit to the school arranged by the Kwanhun-Korea Press Foundation Press Fellowship program and Yonhap News.
Other KOPO officials who were present were Bureau of Education and Training Director General Cho Sung Hwan, Bureau of Strategic PR and Director Ji-hyun Yun and Bureau of Strategic PR and General Manager Nam Jungsik.
He added that “our students were pretty satisfied with the program that BPSU provided. And about 40 (BPSU) students came to Korea” to experience the country.
“Additionally, more people want to visit here. So we are going to hold a program in December in our Asan campus,” Ahn said.
After BPSU, Korea Polytechnics wants to partner with other Philippine institutions in areas like exchange programs.
Korea Polytechnics has 34 campuses all over Korea, two training centers, one research institute, nine departments and one high school.
To date, it has 65,335 trainees including 15,660 in the Industrial Associate Degree program and 500 in the Intensified Major Course leading to a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Its non-degree programs are P-Tech, high-tech vocational training, master craftsman, new middle-aged, restart learning and training program for the employed.
KOPO’s departments include automation, electronics, machine design, mold engineering, automobile, IT, bio, textile fashion and design.
Besides the Philippines, KOPO has signed partnerships with educational institutions in the US, United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, France, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.
Cho said KOPO is changing courses to focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and erase the perception that TVET means low-paying jobs.
“In the 1960s, we focused on fundamental industries. We are now focusing on the fourth industrial revolution so we have smart factory and data software courses. We are working hard on changing the condition about low-paying jobs.
Basically, we are changing courses for the fourth industrial revolution,” Cho said.