This year, in line with the 2015 Revised Curriculum, the Ministry of Education will distribute digital textbooks to elementary schools for students in third and fourth grades, and for first year middle school students. Furthermore, the Ministry has, for the first time, applied compulsory software education to 1,351 middle schools for students in first grade to provide information classes.
In 2018, social studies, science and English digital textbooks are planned to be first distributed to elementary schools for third and fourth grade students and for first grade middle school students. By 2020, digital textbooks will gradually be developed and distributed to cover more subjects.
* Digital textbooks contain content additional to the existing paper textbooks, including dictionaries, multimedia content, evaluation questions and a variety of learning tools, and can be linked to education content outside of digital textbooks.
Digital textbooks are distributed online* in VR(virtual reality) and in AR(augmented reality), and are equipped with tools that have new digital technology to enhance learning effects. The Ministry of Education will expand its wireless infrastructure by 2021, so that all elementary and middle schools will be able to actively use digital textbooks.
* Digital textbooks can be downloaded at Edunet(PC and laptop users), Playstore(Android phones and tablet PCs) and Appstore(iOS phone and tablet users)
Last year, the Ministry of Education provided 635 elementary schools located on islands and in rural regions with wireless APs(Wireless Access Points) and smart devices. By 2021, the Ministry will provide all elementary and middle schools with wireless internet infrastructure, including 1,878 elementary schools.
Software education will become compulsory in first grade middle school from the beginning of the first semester in 2018, and will also gradually become compulsory in all grades in 2020*, and in all elementary schools until the year 2019.
* (2018) 1,351 schools (42%), (2019) 1,326 schools (41%), (2020) 535 schools (17%)
This year, information classes are offered in 1,351 middle schools for first gade students (42%)
During the last few years, the Ministry has established a close cooperation system with local Offices of Education and has made efforts to procure enough teachers*, to expand wireless internet infrastructure and to develop and distribute textbooks.
* (By February 2020) Through new recruitment and multiple qualifications training, approximately 600 teachers will be reinforced.
To invigorate software education in schools, the Ministry of Education is operating research schools, teachers' research societies and students' clubs.
Furthermore, to support the use of digital textbooks by teachers and software education, the Ministry of Education is training teachers by hiring specialized instructors through 'on-site training', and 'collective training'. Besides, it produces and distributes six different kinds of digital textbooks that can easily be used outside the classroom, including at home. Likewise, a call center has been established to further support the use of digital textbooks.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education KIM Sang-kon explained in a meeting with students and parents in an elementary and a middle school which already provide information classes, that "for creating a future state-of-the-art education environment, the Ministry of Education will put in efforts for a smooth implementation of compulsory software education and support the use of digital textbooks and the implementation of software education."
* unofficial translation