Vocational education has become increasingly prominent in Korea in recent years as more young people seek technical skills and techniques amid the nation’s tepid economic recovery and tight job market.
Located in the outskirts of South Gyeongsang Province, the Masan Professional Occupation School is one of the leading vocational schools here.
Although small in size, the school is receiving growing attention nationally, thanks to its unique curriculum and high-quality teaching.
Yet, the school is more famed for its extensive support for students. With support from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the school provides students with free training courses as well as monthly living allowances during their study.
Also, unlike other vocational schools, the students regularly participate in spiritual training that is designed for character development, according to Choi Doo-chan, principal of Masan Professional Occupation School.
|Choi Doo-chan, principal of Masan Professional Occupation School.|
“We hope to nurture leaders through our holistic education by combining character and vocational training geared for the 21st century’s global demands,” he said.
The principal said he believes “total education” with character development is important for engineers and technical professionals.
“Many schools here tend to focus solely on conveying skills, but neglect character training,” Choi said. “But I believe without self-respect, respect for one another and respect for the environment, technique may do more harm than good. Students should build character before learning technique.”
As part of their character education, all Masan students are advised to attend a meditation session, etiquette lessons and hiking training. The school also offers carrier counseling services to the students, according to the principal.
The school currently runs four separate training courses for those looking for a career in mobile application design, game graphic design and development, and the recycling industry.
There are some 80 students, and nearly 70 percent of them have obtained more than one technical certificate or related qualifications, the school said.
Choi has devoted more than 37 years to teaching. He previously headed a high school in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province.
He said there are still improvements to be made at the school. He is hoping to move the institute to a new building by 2016.
“We’re also working to expand our quality teaching. We hope to nurture well-rounded technicians highly demanded in the industry and the country,” Choi added.
The school is currently receiving applications for the new academic term in September. For more information, visit www.masanit.or.kr.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org