The government of Korea has made various efforts in science and technology (S&T) education. The current article explains the role of the government in S&T education system of Korea for the past half century. By classifying the S&T education at each level, this article reveals how S&T education was supported by the government and how it was altered to match industrial needs in each stage of economic development. It also draws policy implications for developing countries who seek industrialisation and development of technology-intensive industries through S&T education fostering human capital.
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Due to the over investment in HCIs, the capacity utilisation ratio of the HCI sector fell significantly and it became less profitable in late 1970s. Therefore, in early 1980s, the government announced to switch the direction of industrial policy from sector-oriented such as the HCI promotion plan to function-oriented one, R&D promotion in particular (). Therefore, during the fifth Five-year Economic Development Plan (1982–1986), its investment in R&D had doubled. Through the sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (1987–1991), the government aimed at increasing R&D expenditure ratios up to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 1991. General research and scientific trainings were mostly financed by the governmental budget. The National Project for R&D was established to stimulate both public and public–private joint R&D projects in the fields of S&T in 1982. The government provided tax incentives under the Technology Development Promotion Act in 1981 (, pp. 20–21). In 1987, policy loans at preferential interest rates accounted for 94.3 per cent of corporate R&D financing from the government (, p. 52).
POSTECH’s financial background was based on POSCO’s contribution. In early days, POSTECH provided up-to-date experiment facilities and computers, while no other university could afford them. Compared to the early days when most of the funds came from POSCO, most of the research funds currently come from the government and its share has been increasing, as is shown in . For example, in 2009, the government was responsible for almost 70 per cent of the budget of POSTECH. Over the past two decades, POSTECH’s financial dependence on the government increased. Alliance with the government has contributed to improvement of research capabilities. The government has supported establishment of various joint research centres. Besides research funding, scholarships are fully provided to all students until they graduate under certain conditions and operating fees are also financed by the government (, p. 52; , pp. 103, 108–109, 118–120).
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