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Highlights: Learning & Sharing Korean STI policy at STEPI
Lessons learnt about Korean Higher Education System

My personal observation regarding Korean higher education system is only limited to Seoul National University more specifically to the interdisciplinary graduate program I am attending since September 2014. The program is mainly intended to cultivate global leaders who could strategically analyze technology (information technology in particular) from management, economics & policy perspectives. International students mainly from developing countries are eligible for enrollment in order to use the advantage of the scholarship opportunity provided by the program.

Personally; beside the formal education, I used to observe the overall environment to obtain important lesson that can be adapted to Ethiopian higher education system. So far I have identified the following major points: 
● The courses are designed and delivered relatively with a narrow scope but with significant depth. In another word the subject under discussion is nearly closer to the actual real world problem. This would enable students to be much focused and to have problem solving orientation & capability; 
Most of the professors encourage their students to come up with their own ideas & thoughts. The professors play a crucial role in restructuring & shaping the ideas that emanate from students. Such an approach definitely promotes creativity & the development of novel ideas; thereby building students’ self-esteem; 
Most of the course evaluations are project based instead of text book based exams. Such an approach shifts the attention of the student from root-memorization to using concepts & principles to solve actual problems; 
The automation of the entire system eases communication among different entities of the University. This is an important lesson that can be adapted to Ethiopian universities, which have only automated their system partly & in fragmented manner.

On the other hand I recommend the following; for the betterment of our program. 
Since the program involves international students mostly from developing countries; it will be more useful if the curriculum also includes courses that deal on national development theories and practice. Such type of courses can make international students to learn from the experience of developed countries like Korea and then adapt it to their respective country context. 
While we are given group assignment; professors try to distribute international students evenly to facilitate experience sharing with Korean students. Such an effort needs to be supported by different type of extracurricular activities to bridge the gaps and to maximize the benefit of experience sharing for both sides.

The four courses I have taken in my first semester (Fall 2014) contributed in widening my understanding to observe technology from management, economics & policy perspectives. During my vacation time I worked in Ministry of science & technology (MoST) of Ethiopia to develop a concept paper & high level framework of STI roadmap & strategic plan. The document was prepared under the supervision of Prof. Youngrak CHOI (Former president of STEPI) and it is well taken by MoST & different stakeholders who attended consultative meetings.

In the remaining three semesters I expect to gain more knowledge especially on methodologies that can help me to approach & solve systematically STI related real world problems. Furthermore; I will use the remaining time to further study the Korean national innovation system with a special focus on the early days of development.
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