Blended learning in South Korea has been described as a revolution by Cho Hee-yeon, however many parents feel it is creating an economic divide
In an interview with The Korea Herald, Cho Hee-yeon, the Superintendent for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, described the shift towards blended learning in Korea as a revolution. Blended learning is defined as a mix of in person tuition alongside online courses. In practical terms, Korean students attend some lessons at school and then continue learning at home using platforms that contain digital resources. Following a phased approach, almost all students have now returned to school.
Statistics published by World Without Worries About Private Education, a Korean civic group, have shown that over 60% of parents feel home learning has increased inequality in society. These results were obtained following a survey of over 1000 adults. 65.4% of respondents indicated that their children do not understand the content that is shared on the distance learning portals.
“ In online learning, there is more room for educational inequality to worsen, but at the same time, there exists opportunities to enhance personalized learning…In the process of preparing for online classes, cooperative school culture has been formed through active exchanges among teachers seeking to raise their quality of lectures… ” Cho Hee-yeon, Superintendent, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education
After closing schools, South Korea rapidly developed its distance learning infrastructure. Microsoft Azure was deployed by the Educational Broadcasting System to expand capacity by 500 in a two week period. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education also offered free devices to disadvantaged families in an effort to reduce educational inequality.
“ So the future of education is blended learning…Remote learning, which was triggered by the COVID-19, will accelerate a transition from in-person classes-focused education to blended learning-focused education…” Cho Hee-yeon, Superintendent, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education