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South Korea to invest USD70m in AI education

SEOUL (ANN/THE KOREA HERALD) – On Tuesday, the South Korean government announced plans to allocate KRW96.3 billion (USD70 million) towards enhancing digital infrastructure and crafting digital textbooks for public schools. 

This initiative aims to revolutionise education through artificial intelligence, commencing with third and fourth-grade elementary students and first-grade middle and high school students. 

The objective is to ease the administrative and managerial responsibilities burdening schools and educators.

To prepare for the use of AI-powered digital textbooks, the Education Ministry will provide a total of KRW60 billion to 6,000 elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide this year for improving network conditions, such as checking and improving internet speed and network access obstacles.

The ministry plans to inspect the network conditions of 6,000 additional schools next year, bringing the total to about 12,000 elementary, middle, and high schools.

For human resources, the ministry will introduce 1,200 so-called “digital tutors” to support technical skills such as repairing or setting up equipment to take the responsibility off of teachers.

To alleviate the additional burden on teachers of acquiring digital skills, the ministry will test-run technical support centres across metropolitan education offices where teachers will be supported with equipment operations, as well as in the event of malfunctions.

Inspection support teams will be formed for each of the 17 provincial education departments to fully investigate the management and utilisation of digital devices distributed to elementary, middle and high schools nationwide.

In addition, the government will establish guidelines on common standards, procedures, and methods for each step, from supplying digital devices to maintaining and disposing of them, as well as providing support for safe device management to prevent students’ overexposure to digital media and block harmful information.

“As we look ahead to the full-scale introduction of AI digital textbooks next year, we will do our best to raise the quality of school digital infrastructure and minimise the burden of management work for teachers,” said Lee Ju-ho, deputy prime minister and the minister of education.