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SNU Extension College: Increasing the Value of Lifelong Education

The 21st century is the era of lifelong education. With the extension of the average life span, people started to worry about life after retirement, feeling a need to develop their capabilities outside their original field of expertise. SNU Extension College helps with this, sharing the intellectual resources of SNU with the community at large.

SNU Extension College in the COVID-19 Era

SNU Extension College (Building 152-1) opened on May 19, 2010, and has offered lifelong education programs for non-SNU members. The programs consist of three parts: education for expertise, career education, and liberal arts education. Participants can choose from these programs considering their stage of life and areas of interest. Professional education helps learners get certificates of qualification authorized by the government. Last year, the college offered courses on deep learning, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, music education, and forest therapy, both offline and online. Director Lee Chan of the Department of Vocational Education & Workforce Development explained that SNU Extension College was able to successfully hold offline sessions despite the outbreak of COVID-19.

Programs were also provided for teenagers struggling with career and university entrance affairs. SNU Extension College has operated its ‘Regional Human Resource Cultivation Program’ since 2019, collaborating with Seoul City and its districts, and the high schools in the community. This program offers special lectures during regular classes, club activities, extracurricular classes, and career classes. Last year, fifteen high schools adopted this program using SNU’s human and material resources. Courses such as “MIDI Composition and Beat-making,” “Software Camp for Creativity,” and “A Study on Entrepreneurship,” gave students expert-level educational experiences that they could not get through lectures in their schools. There was also a program where SNU undergraduates and middle and high school students met offline as mentors and mentees. The “Pyeongchang Teenager Career Camp” was a career curriculum that took place in Pyeongchang, where one of the SNU campuses is located. It was designed to reduce the widened gaps in educational opportunities during the COVID-19 era. The mentees found this program helpful, as they were able to hear from mentors about how they got motivated to study and selected their career paths.

The Regional Human Resource Cultivation Program, at Danggok High School in Gwanak-gu
The Regional Human Resource Cultivation Program, at Danggok High School in Gwanak-gu

Liberal arts courses were also held for the participants wishing to develop academic knowledge in their areas of interest. In the Civil Liberal Arts Program last spring and autumn, 712 people participated in the 23 lectures. For instance, last autumn’s “Seoul Citizen’s College” program featured lectures on humanities, future technology, sociology, economics, culture, art, and studies of Seoul. The SNU Extension College is also improving the quality of civil liberal arts education in collaboration with the municipalities. Utilizing the community facilities, the “Creative Human Resource Training Science Program” of Geumcheon-gu and the “AI Academy” of Guro-gu provided customized learning opportunities for the residents to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. One participant of the “AI Academy” even hoped to take more advanced classes in pursuit of a career in the field.

The Art Therapy Program of 2021 Seoul Citizen’s College
The Art Therapy Program of 2021 Seoul Citizen’s College

A Step Toward the Future

Director Lee explained the long-term agenda of the SNU Extension College: increasing opportunities for education in order to prepare for a post-COVID era, continued increases in lifespan and development of technology, and reorganizing the structure of the Extension College. After this year’s reorganization, a new team called “Future Education Team” will be created, taking charge of digital literacy education for job applicants and the senior citizens. The Pyeongchang Campus of SNU will also be home to a second branch of the Extension College dedicated to serving the disadvantaged people of the region. Lee said that among all the institutions of SNU, the Extension College is the most accessible to the community, and hopes that people will continue to take interest in its programs.

Source: https://www.snu.ac.kr/snunow/snu_story?md=v&bbsidx=135939

Written by Seunghwan Oh, SNU English Editor, ascendhwan@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr