According to the policy, A Plan of Training Human Resources for Software-Oriented Society, announced by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning in 2015, the coding education will be mandatory for freshmen entering middle school next year; they should learn the subject Information for 34 hours a year. In addition, not only for middle school, the coding education will be gradually taught at primary and high school.
The word “coding” means making the computer understand the human language. That is, it is a conversation process between human being and computer. In order to convey their ideas to the computer, people need to think in a computer-based way based on logic and procedure. The coding process aims to produce various applications, games, and software. To create those outputs, some factors like creative ideas, designs to plan, and logical thinking are needed; these are considered as the important goals of the coding education.
When it comes to middle school, according to the 2015 Revised National Education Curriculum coding education focuses on fostering students’ ability for problem-solving based on computing thinking, and for developing simple algorithm and programs. For example, students will learn various subjects like computing thinking, algorithm, and programming development and the main tools for them will be Scratch, Entry, and some other educational programming languages.
Many people have been wondering, however, as to the policy mandating coding education in the national curriculum. Some argue that the mandatory coding education could enlarge the private education market. Although lots of people undoubtedly admit the necessity of coding education, some are worried about the possibility of coding education turning into the education for college entrance. It has been a hot issue since the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning announced that they are promoting coding education to be part of the subjects in the CSAT.
It is also pointed out that coding education is not yet ready to provide students an adequate education. First of all, there is not enough of teachers who specialized in software. For instance, according to the Ministry of Education, by 2018, the 30 percent of all primary teachers in nationwide will be trained to teach the software subjects. Even, among the 30 percent, about 6,000 teachers will go through an advanced training. Lee Jae-won, the professor of the Department of IT at Sungshin Women’s University, emphasized the point: “There is a serious lack of teachers who both have a talent for software and the ability to teach it.” She also added, “The policy which encourages the enhancement of teachers’ ability to teach software should take priority over anything else.” The poor infrastructure in schools does not seem adequate to provide proper software learning as well. According to the data from Park Kyung-mi, the lawmaker of Democratic Party, 42 percent of the computers in 3,089 middle schools at which students will be taught soon are inefficient to learn software. What is worse, 153 middle schools among those do not have any computer labs. Considering these situations, many are concerned about whether the successful coding education would get settled in Korea unless those problems are settled.
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