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(LEAD) S. Korea to allow online joint degree programs among universities

All News 17:58 September 09, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 3 paras, photo; CLARIFIES 8th para)

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will allow online joint degree programs among universities at home and abroad beginning next year, education officials said Wednesday.

During an inter-ministerial meeting on social issues, the Ministry of Education presented a series of measures to promote remote learning based on digital technologies in the COVID-19 era.

The agenda included its plan to permit online joint master's programs among domestic universities and online joint bachelor's and master's programs among domestic and foreign institutions.

"We will draw up detailed measures, such as requirements for participating schools, in the second half of this year," a ministry official said. "The programs will be initiated as early as the first half of next year."

Medical and law schools will be excluded from the policy, the ministry added.

Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae speaks during an inter-ministerial teleconference on social issues in the central city of Sejong on Sept. 9, 2020. (Yonhap)

The ministry also reported that it will remove a regulation that limits remote classes to 20 percent of total credits and leave universities to decide on the proportion of online learning. The restriction will be scrapped in the second half of the year.

Most universities have switched to online since the new coronavirus hit the country early this year.

To improve the quality of online classes, the ministry plans to instruct schools to operate a center that provides technical support to teachers and run monitoring panels of students, teachers and experts.

Authorities will allow universities to run non-in-person field training courses using augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. Related regulations will be revised in the second half of the year, the ministry said.

Also discussed at the meeting was a plan to assist universities in education of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and big data, with an aim to nurture 100,000 experts in such fields by 2026.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced separate plans to help local artists and producers develop new online content and switch their offline activities to online ones.

It said it has set aside 14.9 billion won (US$12.5 million) for the project in the latest supplementary budget, expected to be submitted to the parliament later this week. It also plans to spend an additional 4.9 billion won for the project next year.

In cooperation with the education ministry in expanding the online-based education system through cultural content, the culture ministry said it will develop educational materials using music, fine art and dance, and contactless curriculum focusing on experiencing online content.

"The Story of an Old Couple: STAGE MOVIE," a cinematic version of the theatrical play "The Story of an Old Couple," is showing at a movie theater in Seoul, in this photo provided by the Seoul Arts Center. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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