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Title: Re-conceptualizing 'educational policy transfer' : an analysis of the Soviet and US influence on educational reforms in the two Koreas (1945-1959)
Author: Kim, Sun
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The purpose of this comparative and historical study is to consider a reconceptualization of the notion of educational policy transfer, based on an analysis of how the reforms made during the Soviet and US military occupation in the two Koreas influenced the educational development of North and South Korea from 1945 to 1959. The conceptual framework for the research drew on a definition of 'policy' as a comprehensive concept comprising of policy process and practice 'on the ground,' and going beyond a rigid definition of it as a formally recorded and proclaimed statement by a government. This concept of policy enabled me to analyze the process and practice of the educational reforms from a multi-dimensional perspective, incorporating the beliefs of local actors and the bureaucracy of domestic institutions. For this purpose, historical sources including South Korean, North Korean and US government documents, magazines, newpapers, teachers' resumés and guides and the memoires and diaries of important policy-makers were analyzed; historical documentation was complemented by expert interviews with eleven South and North Korean policy-makers and academics. In South Korea, educational reforms were implemented to promote liberal democratic ideals in the education system. Curricular and systemic changes were made to teach democratic procedures and concepts, such as the introduction of the subject social studies, the establishment of a single-track school system, and the introduction of a student-centered pedagogy to primary schools. In North Korea, a socialist-communist ideology, along with an attraction to the Soviet Union as a model state to follow, was extensively promoted through a series of educational reforms as political indoctrination intensified in the adult education and school curricula. In both contexts, the localization of the reforms was affected by cultural and social factors unique to Korea: the authoritarian legacy of Confucianism and Japanese colonization, and the nationalism that had been fostered for the purpose of state-formation. The Korean case indicates that the state-centric, linear and static view of educational policy transfer should be replaced by a new conceptualization which includes the complex web of decision-making and implementation processes that involve negotiations and compromises among various politicians and administrators who are driven by national as well as personal interests and goals. For example, although the educational reforms in the two Koreas were developed by Soviet and US military in order to maximize their long-term security interests in the Korean peninsula, the key actors who implemented the reforms were Korean policy-makers, who had been appointed to key positions of the educational administrations through the bureaucratic politics between the military authorities and the Korean polity. Although the overall objective of the educational reforms was to extend the ideological influences of the Soviet Union and the USA in the Korean peninsula, specific programs and policies for the reforms depended on the Korean policy-makers' understanding and interpretations of different ideologies.
Supervisor: Lunt, Ingrid ; Oancea, Alis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Educational change--Korea--History ; Education and state--Korea (North) ; Education and state--Korea (South) ; Korea--History--1945- ; Korea (North)--Foreign relations--Soviet Union ; Soviet Union--Foreign relations--Korea (North) ; Korea (South)--Foreign relations--United States ; United States--Foreign relations--Korea (South)