Starting next year, Korean middle school students will have learn software coding in an effort to keep pace with advances in artificial intelligence. However, the private education market is moving much more quickly than the public sector to provide this IT education service.
This classroom is packed with teachers trying to learn coding before it’s included in next year’s school curriculum. Coding is an unfamiliar subject even for the teachers, so they need to undergo over 60 hours of training.
[Soundbite] Song Geun-sang (Elementary School Teacher) : “Teachers have to keep pace with the changes in children. So we have to keep learning. Software training is just one of those efforts.”
In this year alone roughly 30,000 elementary school teachers are to receive coding training, but the level of their expertise remains questionable. There are also concerns over insufficient teaching since there are not enough computer instructors in middle schools to cover even half of all middle schools in Korea. But coding classes are already in full swing in private academies. Five coding academies have opened in Seoul this year alone.
[Soundbite] Lee Geon-wu (5th Grader) : “It’s really fun when I can do coding or make programs myself.”
Also, some 26,000 people took the online coding course provided by Google in just one month, causing concerns that public education is lagging behind the private sector.
[Soundbite] Prof. Lee Min-suk (Kookmin Univ.) : “I believe software education is successful only when students can explain what the issue was, how it was solved, and what kind of difficulties they had during the process.”
Premature institution of mandatory coding classes has given rise to concerns that students will be weighed down with more burden to seek out private education.