Did you know that you are attending Global Teachers’ University(GTU)? In 2012, the Ministry of Education and National Research Foundation of Korea started Support Project for Global Teachers’ University. In the following year, KNUE was selected as one of three additional universities which could get support via the project, following Gyeongin National University of Education. Since then, related programs have been operated in KNUE mainly by Office of International Affairs.
Because teaching environments have changed radically by globalization domestically and abroad, the main purpose of the project was to respond to the demand of globalization in the teaching profession and of Korean teachers in foreign countries. An official at the Ministry of Education said, “I expect that we can reestablish the role of teacher training schools and nurture globalized and talented pre-service teachers through this project.” Four selected universities are making their own global teacher training programs and supporting their students to eventually obtain a foreign teacher’s license. Especially in KNUE, a dual degree program with Eastern Michigan University has been operated in graduate departments. Also, it has signed an MOU, memorandum of understanding, with a total of 22 foreign universities. With them, it has provided various programs for its undergraduates, which will make it easier for students to obtain the degree if they participate in them. For instance, some liberal arts classes are provided during the semester in order to help facilitate globalized minds for students. Students can also volunteer, take part in a teaching practicum, and other training programs abroad.
Some limitations are pointed out, however, about the whole system operated for the GTU project. First, the subjects offered to acquire a dual degree are mostly limited to natural sciences, and it might be because the demands of teachers in the U.S.A. are mainly for teachers of natural sciences classes. However, there are 23 departments in KNUE, and of course, not all of them are in the field of natural sciences. Next, there are only three liberal arts classes: International Developmental Cooperation and Education, Understanding of Education System in Korea and U.S.A., and Understanding of School Education in Korea and U.S.A. Furthermore, because the number of students in any class should not be over a certain figure for the quality of the class, people who want to sign up for them always have to fight fiercely online every semester. For those people, only three classes per year seem to be insufficient. Lastly and most importantly, the programs are not well promoted. For example, the target of the seminar introducing GTU’s educational activities that were held this October was open to all university students, but some misunderstood and thought that only qualified students would be permitted, while others were even unaware of its existence. Jeong Song-won, a freshman in KNUE, said, “I didn’t know that there was such a thing in our university. I didn’t get any message or hear anything about the seminar.”
KNUE students can truly get benefits in various ways that other university students who are not attending Global Teachers’ University cannot enjoy. However, many of them are not fully taking advantage of the programs. Only a minority of students reap such benefits, and even some students do not know that they can enjoy these privileges as a student of GTU. It seems that the related office should take some active steps to nurture the strengths that KNUE has to offer.
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