KOICA starts ‘New Southern Education Assistance Program’



Date: March 6, 2019

KOICA starts ‘New Southern Education Assistance Program’

to nurture talents in ASEAN countries

  • KOICA announces its plan to support education in ASEAN countries at ‘Common Future of Korea and ASEAN’ Roundtable held in Jakarta, Indonesia

  • KOICA introduces a new education assistance program that resembles ‘Minnesota Project’ in the 1950s


KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency), a government-funded grant agency of Korea, initiates ‘New Southern Education Assistance Program’ from 2020 to 2027 in six ASEAN member states including Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, with an aim to nurture future talents.

KOICA announced at the ‘Common Future of Korea and ASEAN’ Roundtable held in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 5, that it plans to initiate education assistance program in alignment with South Korea’s ‘New Southern Policy’ that aims to build a stronger relationship with ASEAN countries. The program is designed following the model of ‘Minnesota Project*’.

* Minnesota Project: Education assistance project sponsored by the US government in a long-term perspective of Korea’s development. In this program, the University of Minnesota supported Seoul National University (SNU) from 1955 to 1962 with capacity building for the Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Agriculture. This program helped SNU improve its academic competency and contributed to the educational development of Korea.

This program supports top-ranked national and public universities in 6 ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines) in the areas of medicine, health, agriculture and fisheries, engineering, ICT, administration, and economy. KOICA will start the preparatory work this year and gradually start the implementation next year, investing tentatively 120 million dollars until 2027.

 KOICA explained that this project aims to a) support the implementation of the South Korean government’s ‘New Southern Policy’ through capacity building of human resources in ASEAN countries, and b) contribute to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)* 4, ‘Quality Education’, in partner countries.

* Sustainable Development Goal: 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030.

KOICA President Lee Mi-kyung said at the roundtable, “New Southern Policy aims to uprate Korea’s relationship with ASEAN countries as high as four major powers (US, China, Japan, Russia) and to build a ‘People-centric Community of Peace and Prosperity’. She mentioned, “To successfully implement the New Southern Policy, the relationship with ASEAN countries should go beyond trade and investment. As Korea’s international development cooperation agency, KOICA will provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) that supports the government’s policy.”

KOICA announced its plans at the roundtable a) to support nurturing future talents based on Korea’s successful case centered around human resources development (Expand exchange programs between universities in Korea and ASEAN countries, b) to implement development programs for the vulnerable using digital technology, and c) to expand assistance to ASEAN (continue to expand new programs by 10% annually).

Korea has implemented many ODA programs to support the development of ASEAN countries in the past, including diverse educational programs for human resources development. However, KOICA determines that when it comes to implementing New Southern Policy and achieving genuine cooperation and advancement, current programs have limits as they are mostly centered around facility assistance and restricted capacity building programs. Therefore, KOICA attempts a new education program that is similar to ‘Minnesota Project’ in which the US supported Seoul National University after the Korean war, with capacity building in education, administration, and process.

This program has objectives of a) capacity building of target institutes in six ASEAN countries – capacity building on education and administration for faculties; modernization of curriculum, modernization of educational facilities and training aids, and advancement on research capability; and b) building an organic knowledge-sharing network that will lead the Korea-ASEAN future community – exchange programs between faculties and students and publication of joint thesis on international journals.

KOICA plans to investigate the demand starting this April, targeting universities in Korea and ASEAN countries, and gradually implement programs after conducting feasibility studies, analyzing local program conditions, and defining the performance management method.

KOICA expects that this program will lay the foundation for ASEAN countries to take a leap despite the development gap between countries and contribute to nurturing talents who will build a future Korea-ASEAN community.

About the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was established as a government agency in April 1991 and is dedicated to providing grant aid programs of the Government of the Republic of Korea. KOICA endeavors to combat poverty and support the sustainable socioeconomic growth of partner countries. For more information, visit http://www.koica.go.kr

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