The author is the Dean of HOKMA College of General Education at Ehwa Womans University.
In the age of artificial intelligence (AI), education is not an exception. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stresses that each country should establish a reliable AI system. In the 2019 OECD evaluation on AI policy of 60 countries, Korea was rated low in public policies including education.
On Nov. 20, the Ministry of Education made a timely presentation titled “Education Policy Direction and Key Tasks in the Artificial Intelligence Era” at a ministerial meeting on social relations. The education policy direction can be summed up in the following three points.
First, “AI education” is to be introduced through the revised 2022 curriculum that will be applied to elementary, middle and high schools from 2025. Second, indicators will be developed to review AI talent training policy outcomes and propose progressive policies. Third, from 2021, AI technologies should be actively utilized to improve the quality of public education and resolve educational issues.
The following four aspects need to be considered to make the process of future education in the AI era successful. The first is an inclusive approach. In the AI era, the gap will become more serious than the current social polarization. Some raise concerns that the digital divide will result in a winner-takes-all situation in a future society. Active support for the socially underprivileged need to be prioritized when distributing educational values.
Second, the frequent changing of teachers is important. Countless educational reforms have been tried around the world, but successful cases are hard to find. This is because they mostly focus on systematic changes. It is the teaching staff that initiates systematic changes and innovation in education. We must remember the important principle that educational innovation is possible when teachers change. Future education can succeed when plans are prepared for teachers to proactively design, prepare and implement ideas for the future.
Third, a systematic approach is required. Education consists of many layers of sub-systems. When designing the future, coordination and modification of these subsystems are necessary. Korea’s education system is faced with great transformation as the state curriculum is to be revised in 2022 and a new curriculum and high school credit system are to be fully introduced in 2025.
College admissions will be reorganized for the 2028 school year, when current fifth graders enter high school. Future education using AI should follow this timeline to thoroughly prepare the curriculum, teaching and learning, educational evaluation and infrastructure to approach the goals.
Fourth, it is important to establish governance of public-private cooperation. The private sector may be better at technological advancements including AI. In the edu-tech field of utilizing educational AI technologies, aggressive investment and participation of private sector are essential.
It should be left to the private sector to create cloud-based education platforms, develop personalized learning systems and upgrade the systems using learner data. The government’s important role is to create reasonable regulations to implement technologies for humans through consensus on utilization and security of educational data.
Korea has envied and modeled foreign systems for different situations and fields, taking the examples of the United States, Singapore, Finland, Germany and Norway. I wonder if there’s been a successful educational policy among the ones benchmarking a foreign system.
Countries have been creating education systems that suit their history and culture. In the AI era, it is hard to find a successful case yet. I hope Korea can establish a successful future education system that fits Korean culture and technology and leads global education.
Translation by the Korea JoongAng Daily staff.