Park, Su-yeon 기자2016.11.07 14:24:34
The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the next industrial revolution to enhance work efficiency by fusing manufacturing with Information and Communication Technology (ICT). To deal with this revolution, the Korean government has declared that Korea will be a Software-Oriented Society, where software (SW) is a center of innovation, growth, and creating value. Since 2014, with the increasing emphasis on the importance of software, many countries have tried to provide software education. Likewise, informatics courses were included in Korea’s 2015 revised curriculum, so that software education will be soon administered to students at all levels. Even though this will occupy only 17 hours in elementary school and 34 hours in middle school per semester, it will be mandatory for every student.
Background and Necessity of Software Education
Korea introduced ICT education early on, and this has contributed to the high level of IT infrastructure and usage in Korea. However, in 2012, only 6.9% of 14 to 19-year-old students took Informatics courses. In addition, software education based on computational thinking was insufficient, because software training was not in the school curriculum, although ICT education was. Based on the SW education activation policy of the Korean government, measures need to be taken to stay on top in the IT field. Recently, the Ministry of Education came up with ways to activate software education. But, what exactly is software education? It can be defined as education which nurtures human resources to be able to solve problems through computational thinking.
Reorganized Curriculums for Students in Elementary, Middle, and High School
In 2014, the Ministry of Education announced their plans to activate Informatics and these changes are included in its revised curriculum. Here are some of the details of the changes
Elementary school (2019~)
ICT unit in Practical course (12hours)
SW Basic Education in Practical course (Over 17 hours)
· Experiencing problem-solving process, algorithms, and programming
· Developing consciousness of Information ethics
Middle school (2018~)
Informatics course (Optional subject)
Informatics course (Over 34 hours) (Required subject)
· Solving problems based on computational thinking
· Developing simple algorithms and programming
High school (2018~)
Informatics course (Intensive option)
Informatics course (Optional)
· Designing algorithms and programs with various categories
Software Education in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, Computing was designated as a required subject for 5 to 16-year-old students and they have taken this course since 2014. Even though ICT has been taught in the UK since 2000, ICT education was replaced with a new computing course. This is one of the biggest changes in the curriculum of the UK, which directly affects the curriculum of Korea.
The purpose of the computing subject is that this education can be used for students to expand informational and computational thinking. By enhancing logical thinking and accuracy in students, they can acquire power as ICT providers. Computational thinking consists of two key components: Abstraction and Automation. Computational thinking can also be acquired by practicing programming or coding, which together form the basis for many aspects of computer science.
After the UK introduced the new computing curriculum in 2014, there have been several types of evaluations through media reports. In 2015, Rachel Swidenbank, who is in charge of Codecademy in the UK, said that one of the most important problems is the number of available teachers who can adequately teach computational thinking in the pursuit of new software education.
With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the government has tried to activate SW education especially for students. In addition, certain enterprises have implemented SW training, such as ‘Naver Software Education Project’ and ‘Samsung Electronics Junior SW Academy’. However, some people are concerned that students will depend on private education if the SW is included to the entrance exam. Because these curriculum reorganizations are happening very quickly, there is not enough time to get everything done. Nonetheless, despite the short period of time, the government has to make an effort to foster young talent who can solve problems through computational thinking.
The KNU Times