Ministry cutting red tape for online college coursesKorean universities will soon be freed from a web of online learning regulations as they adapt to the post-Covid-19 age, local education authorities said.
The Ministry of Education announced the broad blueprint for the transformation last Thursday.
The forthcoming policy changes include eliminating a cap on the share of courses that universities can hold online, leaving that determination to the individual schools. Currently, universities can't hold more than 20 percent of their classes online.
The ministry said it will also allow general universities to run virtual departments, which would allow students to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degrees by almost entirely relying on online courses — akin to the system currently in place in cyber universities. Medicine and law graduate programs, including law schools, will be excluded from this policy change, the ministry noted.
A more detailed version of the policy changes will be released by the end of the year and go into effect as early as 2021, the ministry said.
Some changes will also apply to international joint degree programs, or academic programs collaboratively provided by two or more universities located in different countries. The ministry said it would discard a policy that restricts the proportion of online credits those programs can offer, now capped at 20 percent, and allow universities to offer as many online courses as they want.
Each Korean university will be required to establish a support center for remote learning, and the ministry will launch a grading system that evaluates schools’ online education programs.
The ministry's announcement followed a meeting with university presidents and officials from the Korean Council for University Education and the Korean Council for University College Education, as the government stressed the need for Korean schools of higher education to quickly establish and settle on their “new normal.”
BY NAM YOON-SEO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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