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In line with the pursuit to improve its digital economy, South Korea has announced plans to equip its citizens with artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and blockchain technology skills.

The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) said the plan to introduce digital skills will span five years and is geared toward deepening the talent pool. The “Comprehensive Plan to Nurture Digital Talent” is South Korea’s ace to catch up with other competing jurisdictions for emerging technologies.

Presently, South Korea has around 99,000 individuals with digital skills, but several researchers predict a spike in the demand for digital talent. The demand for employees with digital talent is expected to soar to 738,000 in five years across several verticals.

While several options are available to South Korean administrators, including opening the floodgates for foreigners to meet demand, the government says it will look inward to fill the rising demand.

Training 1 million individuals is no mean feat, but South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has set the ball rolling with a blueprint. The government says it will begin by overhauling the educational curriculum for students in high schools and tertiary institutions nationwide.

The blueprint will see the introduction of courses in blockchain, AI, metaverse, and cybersecurity, with students being allowed to earn bachelor’s or doctorate degrees in the field. The plan will also introduce “company-centric” training programs intended to operate as a talent pipeline for industry players.

“The [South] Korean government will expand the digital education opportunity by developing diverse options including increased digital and information classes and mandate coding classes.,” according to MSIT. “Regular digital capacity diagnosis tests for adults will be conducted, and the digital literacy will be improved.”

The ministry also disclosed the government’s plan to improve “private-government” relations while supporting outstanding students to receive further training in other jurisdictions.

Introducing digital badges

Ahead of the anticipated demand for digital experts, South Korea’s government has seized the initiative to introduce blockchain-based digital badges amid the widening utility of the technology. The badges are designed to streamline the process of job applications by pooling the applicant’s degrees and qualifications electronically, dispensing the need for cumbersome paperwork.

The Science Ministry has onboarded the Korea Employment Information Service, the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, and the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) to support the new policy.

“We will actively support and strive to ensure that the blockchain-based digital badge service provides tangible convenience and efficiency for citizens engaged in job-seeking activities,” said Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-ho.

Watch: BSV entrepreneurs prove Bitcoin works with their applications—Calvin Ayre

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