The Ministry of Education will train 1 million skilled workers for the digital industry

Following the plan to train 150,000 skilled workers in the semiconductor industry over the next 10 years, the Korean government aims to train 1 million skilled workers for the digital industry over the next five years.

The Ministry of Education announced on Monday that in cooperation with other ministries, it will train 1 million skilled workers for the digital industry by 2026, doubling the number of hours of technology courses in the information for elementary and secondary schools and requiring schools to provide education on computer coding. .

The goal is one of 110 items on the state agenda presented by President Yoon Suk-yeol. The ministry will push for measures to train skilled workers for the digital industry, including teaching software and artificial intelligence for elementary and middle schools during this year.

According to the Ministry of Education, the local digital industry – which includes artificial intelligence, blockchain, general software, big data, metaverse, cloud, Internet of Things, 5G and 6G, cybersecurity and more – will require some 738,000 skilled workers within the next five years. The demand could increase as other industries will also need experts on digital platforms.

To meet the demand, the ministry plans to strengthen the digital education of students.

Of that million, 160,000 will be high school graduates or college graduates, 710,000 bachelor’s degree holders and 130,000 master’s or doctoral graduates.

To support digital education, the ministry will lift the restriction on student quotas in university departments related to the digital industry, allowing schools to launch or expand departments.

Like the recent increase in semiconductor-related departments, digital technology-related departments can accommodate more students as long as they meet standards on the number of faculty members.

As the industry needs highly skilled experts, the ministry also plans to expand graduate schools specializing in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cybersecurity and big data.

Class hours for teaching information technology will double from the current 17 hours to 34 hours in elementary schools, and from the current 34 hours to 68 hours in middle schools by 2025.

“In elementary schools, students will learn to familiarize themselves with general computer language through playful activities. Middle school students will learn how to deal with real-life problems with coding, while high school students will learn how to build algorithms,” said Oh Seok-hwan, director of the ministry’s Planning and Coordination Office.

The ministry is due to announce more details about the information literacy program this month.

Information technology education will focus on training students in computational thinking. Computer programming language instruction will also be mandatory in elementary and middle schools.

“Schools will hire teachers or short-term instructors for teaching information technology. In the long term, the ministry will reflect the demand for computer science teachers,” a ministry official said in a Monday press briefing.

To support talent from the start, the government will organize specialized programs on software and artificial intelligence in gifted schools and science high schools.

The ministry will also introduce boot camp programs at universities next year to integrate digital technology into other majors such as humanities and social sciences for convergence education.

Students who participate in the boot camps, which will include 640 hours of instruction over 16 weeks, will receive “micro diplomas”.

“The government and relevant ministries will help universities, companies and individuals show their competence in supporting diverse talents to achieve digital professionalism,” said Vice Education Minister Jang Sang-yoon.

By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])