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Education ministers from South Korea, U.S. plan rare talks

Korean and U.S. ministers of education and science will hold talks to discuss ways to boost personnel and research exchanges, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Sunday.

The talks will be the first of their kind in 30 years.

Education and Science Minister Lee Ju-ho will visit Washington Tuesday for the talks with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan from May 11-13. The two ministers will discuss ways to strengthen public education system, raise the competitiveness of teachers and improve the quality of higher education.

Lee will then hold talks with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Barack Obama’s science and technology advisor, John P. Holdren.

“Lee and Duncan will outline ways to strengthen public education, among other (issues). They will also seek the possibility of joint research on education policies and boosting teacher exchanges,” an education ministry official said.

In his meeting with Chu, Lee will sign an accord on energy and nuclear physics, and discuss ways to conduct joint research on heavy ion accelerators and nuclear fusion energy.

The Korean science minister and Holdren are to check the progress of nano and standards research by the two countries.

Lee is also to visit the National Science Foundation, where he will discuss research cooperation in robotics and brain engineering.

The ministry also unveiled a plan to use the talks with the U.S. to cement international ties in education and science. Seoul is seeking to hold ministerial consultations with other countries, diversify host countries for teacher exchanges, attract foreign research institutes and scientists, and expand educational and scientific assistance to developing countries.

In a bid to carry out the plan, Lee will attend the third Asia Europe Meeting for Ministers of Education in Copenhagen Monday and Tuesday, where he will announce his intention to host the sixth ASEM meeting of education ministers in 2017.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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