News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  America
Koreativity
By Bill Costello
Education Columnist
Education columnist Bill Costello stands in front of the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin in Gwanghwamun, Seoul

On a recent trip to Korea, I visited Gwanghwamun Plaza in Seoul and saw magnificent statues of two Korean heroes: King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-shin.

Both men were remarkably creative. Their accomplishments exemplify Korea’s rich history of innovation.

King Sejong was the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty. In the 15th century, he created Hangul, the alphabetic system of writing still used in modern day Korea.

The genius of Hangul lies in its simplicity. Consisting of only 24 letters—14 consonants and 10 vowels—Hangul is radically easier to learn than Hanja, which was the primary system of writing prior to Hangul.

Consisting of thousands of adapted Chinese characters, Hanja was extremely difficult and time consuming to learn. Consequently, only the privileged aristocrats were literate.

The creation of Hangul made it possible for even commoners to learn to read and write.

Not only did Hangul increase the literacy rate, but it also enabled Koreans to spend less time learning how to read and write so they could spend more time acquiring knowledge.

Admiral Yi Sun-shin was a Korean naval commander during the 16th century.

One of Yi’s greatest accomplishments was his innovative design of the turtle ship.

Improving on earlier versions, Yi redesigned the turtle ship to support his naval strategy of avoiding hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese navy.

The Japanese specialized in boarding enemy ships and fighting hand-to-hand.

To prevent this from happening, Yi covered the deck of his turtle boats with sharp iron spikes that would impale anyone attempting to board.

His turtle boats also featured U-shaped bottoms—instead of the standard V-shaped bottoms—that made them more maneuverable during combat and provided a more stable cannon-firing platform.

Yi’s strategy of firing at the Japanese navy from a distance was extremely successful.

Centuries after King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-shin, Korea is currently one of the most innovative countries in the world.

This was made possible in part by the establishment of a national innovation system by the Korean government shortly after the "First Five Year Plan for Economic Development" was introduced in 1962.

Over the past half century, the government has implemented a series of policy measures to enhance the innovative capabilities of universities, public research institutes, and businesses.

For example, it has promoted the mass production of highly-qualified research personnel, constructed government-sponsored research institutes, and motivated private enterprises to establish their own research institutes.

Korea’s national innovation system initially had the most impact on public research institutes and businesses.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that universities began to significantly increase their R&D expenditures.

Having recognized the importance of innovation to enhancing its economic competitiveness, Korea now has one of the highest rates of spending on R&D in the world. As a result, it has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Recently, the Korean government launched a five-year green technology plan with a budget of US$84 billion, Korean companies beat out international competitors for a US$20 billion contract to supply the United Arab Emirates with four nuclear power plants, and Samsung—the Korean industrial conglomerate—signed a US$6.6 billion deal to build 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power in Ontario, Canada.

I anticipate more statues being placed at Gwanghwamun Plaza in the near future.



Related Articles
    Importing Brazil’s Oil Policy
    China’s Insight into Human Nature
    America’s Shanghai Surprise
    The Chinese Ant and the American Grasshopper
    Liberty Starts in School
    The Erosion of American Higher Education
    The Federal Takeover of Education
    The Schools Scandal
    National Education Association Selling its Saul
    The Fiscal Burden of Educating Children of ...
    Fixing American Dumbocracy
    The Last American Skill
    Architect of China's Quest for Military ...
    Malaysiannovation
    Can Innovation Thrive in Singapore?
    Universities in Hong Kong Focus on Innovation
    Why U.S. Immigration Policy Needs Tweaking
    South Korean Teachers Reach for the SKY


Bill Costello, M.Ed., is a U.S.-based education columnist, blogger, and author of Awaken Your Birdbrain: Using Creativity to Get What You Want. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com

 

back

 

 

 

The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange