S. Korea to allow online joint degree programs among universities

Students communicate during breaks in classroom at the Primary School Affiliated to the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing on June 1, 2020. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Sep 9, 2020, Yonhap. South Korea will allow online joint degree programs among universities at home and abroad beginning next year, education officials said Wednesday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

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.

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 establish a center for supporting teachers and instruct schools to operate 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.

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