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Learning cities in the Republic of Korea: Eight Korean cities join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

14 July 2016

Learning cities in the Republic of Korea are moving in a new direction as eight cities join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. Bucheon, Gunpo, Jeonju, Namyangju, Osan, Suwon, Tongyeong and Uijeongbu are all contributing to an international dialogue on building sustainable learning cities.

One of Bucheon’s most striking features is its governance system, which focuses on partnerships that foster civil participation. Bucheon’s main objectives are to promote lifelong learning and use the city’s resources effectively.

Gunpo aims to foster social integration and to bring communities together by transforming entertainment spaces into learning spaces where all citizens can participate.

The ‘Jeonju Humanities 365’ project developed by the city of Jeonju encourages citizens, particularly those who are marginalized and vulnerable, to discover a love of reading and lifelong learning.

Osan’s learning city approach focuses on strengthening citizen participation and transforming the city into a learning space, a workplace and a playground.

Suwon’s actions centre on creating an environment conducive to lifelong learning in libraries and community centres and on building an educational network.

Tongyeong was designated a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations University in 2005 and is today one of the world’s longest-running regional initiatives for education for sustainable development.

Uijeongbu has made a commitment to provide customized learning to all citizens. It aims to achieve self-actualization through developing the knowledge of its citizens based on their needs.

Namyangju took part in the pilot phase of UNESCO’s learning city project. Namyangju’s innovative ‘1-2-3 Lifelong Learning Infrastructure’ ensures that lifelong learning facilities are located within easy reach of all citizens. A case study of Namyanju is included in a publication by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning entitled Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities: Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities.

By joining the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, these cities hope to share insights into the practice of building learning cities in the Republic of Korea and to learn from the experiences of cities all over the world.