Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Sunday that he would add a fresh touch to kindergarten curricula.
During his visit to Singapore, Oh met with Deputy President Provost of the National University of Singapore Tan Eng Chye and the two exchanged views on how to address the changing needs of education.
“I am intended to prepare for a change in our city’s education policy toward participation-oriented and on-site-accented education so as to provide a chance for students to be more creative starting at the pre-school level,” Oh was quoted by city officials as saying.
Singapore is often cited as a good example of education policy, thanks in part to its 1997 initiative, summed up by its slogan: “Thinking School, Learning Nation.”
Oh observed that any change in education policy should be implemented on a long-term basis, looking at its potential effects at least 10 years ahead. “Thus, kindergartens will be the first in a series of changes that will eventually tackle elementary, middle and high schools at the foundation,” he said.
The creative program Oh has in mind will see that classes are conducted in a way that invites children to participate in activities, encourage them to debate and find a negotiated solution, taking advantage of the city’s infrastructure ranging from libraries, English immersion villages and museums, city officials said.
At the same time, the city plans to set up the tentatively-named Seoul Creative Academy and start a scholarship program toward that end.
A global knowledge hub project will also be launched, putting a campus town in each of the five sub-regions in Oh’s municipal renewal program. The project will divide Seoul into five areas with each having their own unique development models.
The renewal program also sees to it that, starting in 2010, Seoul will attract one global-level research institute each year until 2014.
Oh has committed himself to a re-election bid in local elections scheduled for June next year. In a recent interview with The Korea Times, he said that he would complete his second term if he were elected. Oh is widely believed to be a shoo-in for the June elections and is touted as a potential standard bearer for the ruling Grand National Party for the next presidential election. During the interview, he said he wanted to finish what he started as mayor.
Oh is regarded as the first elected mayor of Seoul during Korea’s baby boomer generation.