Changing skills formation and lifelong learning in South Korea
This thesis explores how skills fonnation and lifelong learning policies have changed in South Korea in response to the challenges of globalisation and democratisation. It examines the modes of regulation of VET and lifelong learning with regard to qualifications, funding and the labour market. The thesis combines a theoretical analysis with an empirical study undertaken in South Korea. It examines, historically, why and how developmental skills formation and lifelong learning have been changing into a 'state-coordinated partnership' model. In addition, it analyses the characteristics of the 'state-coordinated partnership' model of skills fonnation and lifelong learning, focusing on the relation between the state and mobilised civil society (or civic participation). Five different international models of skills fonnation and lifelong learning are compared with changing models in Korea. Analysis of the changing framework for skills fonnation in Korea is based on multiple sources of evidence, including secondary and documentary sources, and interviews with social partners. The thesis argues that developmental skills fonnation was a part of developmental state fonnation, which focused on economic modernisation as a major means for national security at the expense of political freedom. Therefore, since the developmental state came to an end with the rise of civil society and democratisation in the 1990s in Korea, skills fonnation has been changing from the developmental to state-coordinated partnership model on the basis of the increasing involvement of social partners. More important, the widened civic participation has not resulted in the demise of the state's role. By contrast, it demands the state coordination of social partners in building the holistic framework of lifelong learning on the basis of social cohesion and participatory citizenship. Finally, this study contributes to an understanding of the implications of globalisation and democratisation on developmental skills fonnation and lifelong learning policies in Korea and other East Asian economies.