RCE Gwangmyeong - 2023


South Korea
The Gwangmyeong Autonomy College
Basic Information
Title of project : 
The Gwangmyeong Autonomy College
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Gwangmyeong
Contributing organization(s) : 
RCE Gwangmyeong, Gwangmyeong Lifefong Learning Center
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Kim Soojung
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Gwangmyeong - Lifelong Learning Center
Jung Hyekyung
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Gwangmyeong - Lifelong Learning Center
Kim Seon-yeong
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Gwangmyeong
Format of project: 
manuscript, audiovisual
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Additional resources: 
Gwangmyeong Autonomous college on YouTube!

a collection of newspaper contributions from college students

Gwangmyeong Autonomous College's UNESCO ESD Official Project Certification

online lecture

Activities after graduating from college
The spread of the value of sustainable development in Gwangmyeong City
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Republic of Korea
Address of focal point institution for project: 
20, Sicheong-ro, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Gwangmyeong City, located in the Midwest of Gyeonggi Province in Korea and bordering the country's capital, Seoul, boasts a convenient transportation network. The 38.5-square-kilometer city combines two rivers, five mountains, and residential areas. Although it currently has a population of 290,000, it is expected to reach 500,000 by 2030 when continuous housing development is completed and industrial complexes are built across huge areas. Despite its 47 schools, Gwangmyeong City does not have a university, but it has six public libraries and 49 small libraries. It is Korea's first lifelong learning city. It values learning, autonomy, peace, and community, and it especially encourages citizen participation. Most citizens go to work in Seoul, the capital that can be reached within 10 minutes by car, and most of the area is residential. The economic structure of the region is mostly self-employed, with few businesses, and focuses on revitalizing the social economy.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
RCE Gwangmyeong has a vision of a "sustainable Gwangmyeong City created by the learning community." Gwangmyeong city is facing rapid changes as urban regeneration, large-scale housing site development, and urban development to attract industries are underway to improve the residential environment. It is necessary to respond to environmental destruction, overcrowding, and community destruction.
It is located next to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and most of them are residential areas and there are no jobs, so it is necessary to revitalize the social economy that grows naturally in the region.
In order to strengthen local residents' attachment to the region, communities through learning must be activated.
To solve this problem, RCE Gwangmyeong adopts the "Learning → Community Formation → Regional Problem Solving" approach with the aim of sustainable urban development. Gwangmyeong Autonomous College is contributing to the creation of a sustainable development city by running departments related to local agendas and producing social innovators who lead citizens.
May, 2020
The lack of light and knowledge-based universities is becoming a task of fostering experts. There is a need for a lifelong civic college that can enhance citizens' abilities by recognizing the importance of continuous learning in daily life.
In order to create innovative policies, college must cultivate civic experts who receive education through lifelong learning to enrich the overall lives of citizens.
There is a need for a learning platform that promotes coexistence away from humanities-centered education. It proves that practical learning focusing on the core interests of the region is essential. And the post-program graduate learning club promotes independent and continuous learning. Integrated activities of community activists rooted in lifelong learning are urgently needed. The key is to prioritize local issues over theoretical academic research and collectively seek alternative approaches. Lifelong learning leaders who are familiar with community insights cooperate with local organizations after graduation to strengthen community participation. Leading and active regional change is possible as leaders actively participate in various public projects.
Gwangmyeong RCE established Gwangmyeong Autonomous College in 2019 to train village leaders to transform the neighborhood into a good place to live.
○ Respond to demands for strengthening civic autonomy and revitalize grassroots democracy in the wake of the era of civil sovereignty
○ Creating a lifelong learning environment that embodies the spirit of deliberation and public opinion, participation and collaboration, and learning and practice for the realization of democracy
○ The formation of a learning community that strengthens the capabilities of village activists, cooperates, and coexists through lifelong learning
Activities and/or practices employed: 
○ The virtuous cycle structure of Gwangmyeong Autonomous College.
- Step 1. Online pre-learning (Gwangmyeong Story, Gwangmyeong Autonomous College, introduction of 5 departments, graduate Vlog)
- Step 2. This semester (20 weeks, entrance ceremony, graduation ceremony, training at local institutions, announcement of activity plan after graduation)
- Step 3. Learning club's activities
- Step 4. the formation of the graduate council
- Step 5. Sharing and disseminating best practices for activities

○ Semester operation: 5 departments, 25 students per department, 20 sessions, 60 hours per semester, and 3 semesters
- Participatory classes such as small group mentoring, discussion, presentation, case study, etc
- Launching online zoom lessons and producing YouTube lectures to cope with the pandemic.
○ Organization of major departments linked to regional development
- Facilitate convergence and network formation between departments by operating common lectures that all students take regardless of their departments
- Establishment of a department reflecting the changes of the times and the local situation
('20) Social economy, climate energy, community development, local autonomy, urban regeneration
('21) Social economy, climate energy, community development, local autonomy, pets
('22) Social economy, climate energy, community development
('23~) Social economy, climate energy, urban brand, community art, ecological garden
○ After graduation, there is a training session to strengthen the solidarity of the graduate council, and project expenses are provided so that various community activities can be carried out. Therefore, ultimately, it aims to develop into a self-sufficient social and economic organization.
Size of academic audience: 
participants : ('20)117, ('21) 61, ('22) 64 ('23) 137 / Graduate : 191 ('20~'22)
(During the learning process), learning sustainable development theories such as climate energy and social economy, and operating participatory classes that include discussions and presentations to explore strategies to solve local problems.
(After graduation), each department organizes learning clubs such as the Carbon Neutral Research Association, participates in various public projects, produces and distributes social economy guides, holds local albums for urban regeneration, develops urban energy resource maps, participates in climate crisis programs, prepares after-school civic instructors, and promotes various activities. In particular, the Ministry of Climate and Energy trains and spreads 25 climate energy activists every year.
Lessons learned: 
RCE Gwangmyeong believes that the competitiveness of cities comes from learning citizens. In Gwangmyeong city, where there are no universities, Gwangmyeong Autonomous College performs the functions of universities perfectly. Gwangmyeong Autonomous College fosters village leaders that the region wants through the development of new departments reflecting changes in times and local situations and supports learning clubs and alumni activities after graduation so that individual growth through learning leads to regional development.
Key messages: 
Citizens change their lives by learning about the region and sustainable development, and furthermore, grow into village leaders through autonomous in-depth learning through learning communities and ultimately change the region.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Gwangmyeong Autonomous College contributes to the sustainable development goal of Gwangmyeong City.Collaboration will take place with Gwangmyeong City departments related to the opened department.In 2023, 13 departments and intermediate support organizations are working together.
Gwangmyeong City Lifelong Learning Budget


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon The 1st entrance ceremony.jpg (421.23 KB) The 1st entrance ceremony RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon The 1st graduation ceremony..jpg (222.43 KB) The 1st graduation ceremony RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon The 2nd graduation ceremony..jpg (371.28 KB) The 2nd graduation ceremony RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon The 3rd graduation ceremony..jpg (768.28 KB) The 3rd graduation ceremony RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon the 4th entrance ceremony..jpg (613.35 KB) the 4th entrance ceremony RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon 1st to 3rd graduation training..jpg (1.13 MB) 1st to 3rd graduation training RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon a field trip to the Department of Climate and Energy..jpg (55.21 KB) a field trip to the Department of Climate and Energy RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon a meeting of graduates..jpg (298.11 KB) a meeting of graduates RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon a special lecture on the dean of a university..jpg (526.36 KB) a special lecture on the dean of a university RCE Gwangmyeong
Image icon a student meeting..jpg (604.94 KB) student meeting RCE Gwangmyeong
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: