All-out efforts made
to support students for online classes
□ With the announcement made by the Ministry of Education on its plan to phase in an online school year on March 31st, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hye and Minister of Science and ICT Choi Kiyoung held a bilateral meeting today at the Government Complex in Seoul to work more closely together to create an environment conducive to online learning.
□ The Ministry of Science and ICT has decided to support students to have free access to online education platforms such as the website of Korea Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) without having to worry about additional fees charged, a decision made in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and three telecommunications companies (KT, SKT, LGU+).
ㅇ On March 16th, it was announced to provide unlimited data access to online educational platforms, including the Digital Textbook Site and E-learning Site until the end of May this year. Additionally, beginning on April 9th, EBS websites can also be accessed for free on smartphones and tablet PCs by the end of May.
□ Moreover, EBS educational programs will be broadcasted on IPTV (KT, SKB, LGU+) channels, serving as an instrumental platform for online classes while minimizing any inconvenience that students may experience with online learning.
ㅇ The three IPTV companies will make additional channels to broadcast educational programs for different graders without charging extra fee for subscription.
ㅇ With this service, those who are subscribed to IPTVs can choose to participate in the online learning through either the Internet or the TV to view EBS programs. This service will be expanded to cable and satellite TV channels.
□ Moreover, in cooperation with Korea Disaster Relief Association, 30,000 and 6,000 tablet PCs will be donated by Samsung Electronics (Galaxy Tab A 8.0) and LG Electronics (G Pad-3 8.0), respectively, to support students from low-income families.
□ The government has long been implementing projects which provide financial grants and PCs as part of its effort to reduce the ICT gap in children from low-income families.
ㅇ Nevertheless, there are still many students who are not equipped with digital devices and WiFi connections.
ㅇ In this regard, the Ministry of Education and the Metropolitan and Provincial Offices of Education will work together to lend a total of 316,000 digital devices to children from low-income households, which include 230,000 devices that schools already have in stock, plus 50,000 devices provided by the Ministry of Education, and 36,000 devices sponsored by the private sector (Samsung and LG Electronics).
ㅇ Schools will first monitor the number of students who need to borrow digital devices (i.e. educational grant recipients and low-income households), and then lend its own devices to the students.
- If schools do not have enough devices in stock, they will apply for additional devices to the Offices of Education, which will then be lent to the households in need (April 9th onward).
ㅇ The Ministry of Science and ICT and telecommunications companies will support swift installation of the Internet in each household, and the subscription fees will be covered by the budget of the Offices of Education.
□ Since March, the Ministry of Education has expanded the traffic capacity of its Learning Management System (LMS) to allow 3 million users to concurrently access the EBS Online Class and E-learning websites.
ㅇ Also, the Ministry of Science and ICT, relevant institutions (EBS, KERIS), three major telecommunications companies and cloud computing portals will together create a special taskforce to provide stable services throughout the online school year by setting up infrastructure and communications networks.
ㅇ The Ministry of Education plans to allow schools to access commercial websites of e-learning and the use of WiFi routers in the classroom, while fully providing any equipment that teachers may need in their online classes.
□ Deputy Prime Minister Yoo said, “Although we are in a dire situation, because we have the world’s best teachers, students, and ICT infrastructure, we can work together in harmony to produce synergy in making online classes take root on the ground.”
ㅇ She added, “I want to convey my deepest gratitude to the Ministry of Science and ICT in cooperating with us to successfully introduce online school year. I ask all of you to continue to work closely with us to turn this crisis into a new opportunity.”
□ Minister Choi Kiyoung said, “I want to thank all the stakeholders of both private and public sectors, namely telecommunications companies, broadcasting outlets, Samsung and LG Electronics, for their great teamwork and strong commitment to cooperating with the government in this national crisis.”
ㅇ “We now need to prepare for the future of e-learning, more advanced than the present. I will work hard to make the current crisis serve as a chance for Korean e-learning software companies to rise to the occasion,” he added.