MEMBER UPDATE: National Park Citizens' College an education programme for local people
National Park Citizens’ College, the education programme that aims to enhance local people’s understanding of their neighbouring national parks, has been run by the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) since 2008. The two-month programme consists of a field experience component and ten lectures on the various aspects of national parks. These range from management systems and policy to natural and cultural resource management. Since its first delivery at Seoraksan National Park in 2008, 16 Korean national parks have adopted this programme and now run it annually. Between 2008 and 2017, 3,605 people participated in the National Park Citizens’ College.
National Park Citizens’ College helps local people, who are often marginalised from educational opportunities, learn the value of their neighbouring national parks and relevant management policies. Furthermore, it can change local people’s opinion towards national parks, fostering a positive relationship between local communities and national park offices. Some graduates from National Park Citizens’ College contribute their time to actively volunteer in national parks. Some participate in the Community Cooperative Committee of the national park, an important role in national park management.
In the education programme’s early days, participants were mostly local people living in or close to national parks. Increasingly though, more urban citizens have also joined the National Park Citizens’ College. This means that various people in every corner of our society are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of national parks. National Park Citizens’ College is serving as a platform for fostering support for national parks at the local level.
About Korea National Park Service (KNPS)
Korea National Park Service (KNPS) is a professional protected area management organisation established in 1987. It manages around thirty percent of Korea’s protected areas including 21 national parks. Guided by its vision: ‘Leading Protected Areas Management by Connecting Nature, People, and the Future’, KNPS commits its resources to achieving conservation and sustainable use of national parks, and provides support to locally-managed protected areas.