(Too) Young Programmers?
Han Lee Hyebin  |  smt_lhb@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2018.03.24  23:39:48
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Steve Jobs left the famous words, “Everyone should know how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”  As he said, computer programming has risen to become a core competency in the new era.  To ensure the future of the next generation, the South Korean government has decided to incorporate computer programming into its regular school curriculum.  The curriculum change will be applied to middle schools and elementary schools from 2018 and 2019 respectively.  Students will be expected to learn computer programming using ‘Scratch’, a free programming tool that helps beginners learn to program easily.  Learning computer programming will provide teenagers with the chance to feel more connected to the real electronic age and develop promising talent ready for the fourth Industrial Revolution.
However, concerns have been raised about the changing curriculum.  One of the obstacles is a lack of professional computer programming educators.  At present, the percentage of middle schools that have programming educators is only 37.2%.  In addition, parents of students have expressed concern because it will lead to the need to spend more on private education and cause more anxiety among children.  Right now, private computer programming education academies, known as programming hakwons, have been popping up like mushrooms.  It is not hard to find programming hakwons in almost all cities, especially big cities.  At programming hakwons, students learn advanced computer programming languages and techniques, many of which are college level learning.  The essence of computer programming education is to develop a learner’s ability to think logically.  However, with it becoming a mandatory part of the school curriculum, many students may lose interest in programming and start to think uniformly as a result of unified education.  Furthermore, it would widen the gap between children who receive private computer programming education and those who do not.
Steve Jobs also said, "Stay hungry, stay foolish!"  Whose hunger is the new change to the national education curriculum feeding?  Is it excessive greed of adults?  Are parents just making their students 'hungry'?


Choi Hyungjo, "As Coding Education Nears, a Call for Creativity", Korea JoongAng Daily, October 30, 2017
Han Dongin, "Learning Coding Like Learning Korean · English · Mathematics will Bring Failure", HyundaeNews, January 9, 2018
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