Software education is crucialEducation Ministry officials are working with university professors to design a new national education formula that does away with the decades-old separation of humanities from math and science in high school curriculums. The Education Ministry plans to have a road map and framework for the changes by the end of August. The new curriculum should be constructed with insight and prudence as it could shape the future of the young generation and the country.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning recommends making computer software a new subject to be taught from elementary to high school. Computing and software are currently taught as part of home and technology courses in middle school and as an optional subject in high schools, where it is chosen by less than 5 percent of students. Those who are interested in computers and software must go elsewhere to get education on the subject.
Because computing is neglected in secondary education and can only be attained at colleges, Koreans naturally lag behind other nations in the field. The British government this year announced that computing and software will become a compulsory subject for students between the age of 5 and 16. The subject is also included in the regular curriculum at Japanese high schools. We too should get started on software and computer education.
Software is behind the industrial products and services that power the Korean economy. Due to the omnipotent uses and applications of software, literacy in programming has become as important as English. In order to incubate and foster brains to work at ICT powerhouses, software and computer education should start in elementary school. The government should first make computer software independent from the middle school classes and expand it as an optional subject in high schools so that more students become familiar with it as an educational theme.
It is not easy to make computer programming a separate subject because of its expansive application. Teachers may oppose losing their teaching hours. School curriculums are mostly run to fit and reflect suppliers - teachers, associations and teaching academies - and therefore often neglects classes and courses that the consumers - parents and students - desire.
Computer science education is essential to an innovation-oriented economy. The government and education sectors should set aside their interests and cooperate to include computer software in the new national curriculum.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 14, Page 35