Selling university education programs overseasEmerging economies are taking interest in the Korean education system. Korean universities should use this momentum to upgrade and globalize their education standards. Korean universities have hitherto been primarily concerned with attracting excellent talents and brains from overseas. It is time the country foster education as a national strategic export item.
The Korea Maritime University gets a flood of requests from foreign counterparts to open campuses or programs overseas. The university has been running a so-called twinning program that offers degrees to foreign students upon completing a two-year global course. Countries like Malaysia, Mongolia, Kenya, Bangladesh and Myanmar are requesting for more and diverse exchange programs. Some are demanding a full four-year undergraduate course on navigation science and marine engineering.
The revenue from franchising would help greatly the university finance. But regulations and misunderstanding are getting in the way. Since there are currently no laws allowing exports of education program, universities would have to find irregular ways to run courses overseas. There are also concerns of local education system losing quality and causing damage to the industry sector when it is exported to less developed countries. But Americans and British have benefited greatly from exporting their English education system.
To sell their education programs overseas, Korean universities must develop specialized and quality education products. Without competitiveness, export is not possible. Universities should seek systematic network with foreign counterparts and breed international mindset among professionals in the education field. Universities must be given more sovereignty in running courses and programs. They also should strengthen exchanges with the niche markets in Latin American and Africa.
By Pak Han-il, president of the Korea Maritime University