Seoul City launches free online lecture platform

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Seoul City launches free online lecture platform

Seoul's vision of free online lectures for all is coming to life.  
 
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the official launch of its free online lecture platform, "Seoul Learn" on Monday, along with a presentation of the government's finalized three-year implementation plan. 
 
According to the plan, trials will begin from late August and include 110,000 students ages nine to 24 from low-income and multicultural households.  
 
Seoul Learn will then expand its services to those under the age of 29 by 2022, and then to all Seoul citizens by 2023.  
 
"We completed the basic planning for Seoul's education online platform, Seoul Learn," said Lee Dae-hyeon, director of the Seoul Metropolitan Institute for Lifelong Education. "Seoul Learn will be a modern education program that will offer all citizens a lifetime of quality education."
 
For elementary students, engaging educational content in the form of games and comics will be offered while middle and high school students will receive high-quality academic lectures by so-called star lecturers from private cram schools.
 
One-on-one online mentoring program with Seoul-based university students is in the works as well.  
 
Seoul Learn also plans to diversify its curriculum by including non-academic subjects such as music, art and computer skills.
 
Seoul Learn will provide lectures to help people preparing for employment attain various certifications and licenses, as well as skills needed in the Fourth Industrial Age like coding.  
 
Moreover, the government stated its plans to create an 'EduTech' platform as part of Seoul Learn, which incorporates big data, artificial intelligence and metaverse to offer students personalized and enjoyable learning experiences.  
 
Seoul Learn aims to eventually offer job-specific training programs to support workers of all ages and abilities.  
 
Seoul city's mayor Oh Se-hoon's push for the free educational platform is based on the prevalence of hagwons in Korea, or private cram schools which are often inaccessible to students from low-income families. 
 
According to a 2018 report from the OECD titled "South Korea's Child Poverty Report," nearly 68 percent of Korean students attended hagwons.
 
Most resided in Seoul and attended cram schools in the Gangnam District, which has the highest number of hagwons in the country.
 
The report also stated that 16.5 percent of low-income households were pressured to overspend at hagwons, investing approximately 30 percent of their income as opposed to five percent that was spent among higher-income families.  
 
 

BY LEE JIAN, PARK SA-RA [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]
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