Maj. Gen. Lee In-tae, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia, has told Liberians to make better use of education because it is the major tool in the transformation of any society or nation.
Amb. In-tae spoke at the University of Liberia (UL) Fendell Campus during the first “LUX Talk” of the year 2020, a forum intended for “intellectual and cultural exchanges”, launched in 2018. The one-day event brought together students and members of the faculty of the university.
UNICEF and other world organizations have ranked the Republic of South Korea as one of the countries with the best education systems in 2017. Its high rank among other countries has been continuing and it is expected to continue up to 2022, despite competition put forward by Japan and others.
“I believe the reason Korea’s education is successful is because it focuses on realizing the potential of people. There are many definitions of potential, but Korea took a specific one that says “something that can develop or become actual,” Amb. In-tae, a decorated career military chief said.
This, according to the Korean diplomat, means that education comes with tangible results that have impacts on a country and society, and it is only by the result one can claim to be educated.
He said Koreans believe that everyone has his or her own potential that helps to develop Korea. He expressed the belief that without education, no country can develop and that the people of Korea share the same view.
Amb. In-tae’s message was delivered on the theme: “Growing the Liberian Economy Through Education, the Korea Model.” He said high school graduation rate in Korea is currently at 92%.
Amb. In-tae emphasized university education as key to developing a nation, stressing that there is a relationship or vicious cycle between education and development.
“If you can develop a person’s potential, then you will become different people, and this will in return contribute to the development of the country. If more people are able to go through education, it means that such a nation will have more human resources. If there are more human resources, it means they will contribute to the country’s economic development,” Amb. In-tae said.
He said if a country also has enough natural resources, there are more chances of developing the industries and possibilities of developing the country’s economy.
He further called on students and the entire citizenry to keep focus on persuading education because of its many benefits.
“Today, Korea has an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, while the youth unemployment rate is at 9.4 percent. The GDP value of South Korea represents 2.61 percent of the world economy. GDP in South Korea averaged US$443.27 billion from 1960 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of US$1,619.42 billion in 2018 and a record low of US$2.42 billion in 1961,” he said.
He said Korean education, being famous, has led to an establishment of a scholarship scheme that invites global students to Korea for studies. The Ambassador promised to show Liberian students ways of benefiting from the Global Scholarship schemes.
“One of the success stories in Africa is Sam Okyere from Ghana who benefited from Korea through the Global Scholarship scheme and he is now one of the most popular entertainers in Korea Broadcasting.