Korean government announced the “Comprehensive Plan to Nurture Digital Talent” (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Plan’) that aims to widen the digital education opportunity, strengthen digital capacity, and foster one million digital talent by the year 2026.
Tailored policies will be established under the Plan, aimed to foster individuals with various levels of capacities from being familiar with the digital technology in everyday life to being outstanding in the related industry. The Plan also accentuates the digital and information education in the primary and secondary level of education to enhance familiarity with the digital technologies. In preparing the Plan, Korean government has done multiple field visits to companies and schools, listened to voices of academia and industry, and carried out intense discussions with experts.
Because the digital technology is evolving in a fast pace, national level support and aid is crucial in answering to the soaring demand for the digital transformation and digital talent. Based on the 2021 budget, approximately 99 thousand students with digital skills will be produced, but the demand for the digital experts in the next five years is expected to be approximately 738 thousand. The demand can increase since the digital skills are required in every aspect of society and industry, not limited to the digital industry. Under these circumstances, many policy tasks surfaced to help private-government-academia sectors cooperate to nurture quality digital talent. The three major directions of the Plan are: i) fosterage of one million digital talent, ii) expansion of the digital education opportunity, and iii) digital transformation of the education system.
[Fosterage of one million digital talent]
The number ‘one million’ is the actual target number of talented people aimed to be nurtured in coming five years, and it is also a symbolic target number representing the goal to help all citizen to become familiar with digital technologies. In order to achieve these goals, the education system will become more flexible to open new courses or increase the capacity of the majors in the leading-edge technologies. The combined degree courses of the digital majors will be introduced where students can seamlessly earn bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees, and curriculums that offer direct career opportunities will be increased. Colleges with outstanding digital courses will be established, and postgraduate courses in the digital fields such as AI, Metaverse, cyber security, and big data will be expanded. For younger students, the Meister High Schools will be expanded to enhance vocational training that suits the demand of digital industry. In the industry sector, the digital capacity building trainings will be provided to the employees working in different industries. The company-centric digital training programs will be operated and companies with internal digital training programs will be certified as the ‘Digital Leaders Club’ and benefits will be given. By collaborating with academia and industry, Korean government will help citizens from all backgrounds to grow digital capacity of various level.
[Expansion of the digital education opportunity]
Korean government will expand the digital education opportunity by developing diverse options including increased digital and information classes and mandate coding classes. Regular digital capacity diagnosis tests for adults will be conducted, and the digital literacy will be improved. Government will support utilization and distribution of the digital technology by encouraging the use of ‘digital badge’ given according to the experiences in the digital field, and establish the ‘capacity ladder’ program that supports systematic growth in the digital field.
[Digital transformation of the education system]
Korean government will amend regulations and build database to effectively utilize the private sector experts as college professors and meet the mid to long term demand of necessary human resources. In order to raise the digital capacity of future teachers, a new system called the ‘AIEDAP’, the AI Education Alliance and Policy Lab, program will be adopted and operated. Also, the digital textbooks and contents will be provided, and AI based customized education system will be established.
[Support and aid]
Korean government will designate the professional organization to manage and support the digital talent fosterage projects, and form alliances to strengthen the private-government connection. It will also continue with the policy support to utilize outstanding students studying overseas or international students studying in Korea.
- Download Press Release in PDF: Korea to nurture one million talent to lead the digital era