This past April, the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) selected 26 universities as Software Education Emphasis institutions. Ewha made it to the final nomination and has been introducing schoolwide plans to bolster the software education students receive.
Universities designated as Software Education Emphasis institutions are to meet industry demand by strengthening software competitiveness for various stakeholders, including students, corporations and the national economy.
The competition to win MSIT support was fierce, at a record high of 5.4:1. The school will receive a total of 11 billion won over the course of six years to run appropriate education programs to cultivate female software talent.
One of the initial steps taken by the school is to deepen the curriculum of software-related majors and create integrated classes to match with companies, which were facing a lack of labor supply especially for qualified engineers. A new working unit under the president’s office has been established, and the Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Professor Choi Dae-suk, is leading the software education project effort.
In order to foster a female-friendly atmosphere in a field that has hitherto been dominated by male professionals the school will strengthen industry collaboration. These markets include digital contents, cognitive sciences, cyber security and bio data sciences which have higher proportions of female engineers. These industries work with the school at various levels to expand student opportunities and enhance student familiarity with actual fieldwork related to their software studies. Students may also make use of independently curated convergence majors such as X+sw, a shorthand notation of females and software, and meet industry experts.
Moreover, Ewha Startup Lab will run to commercialize on software education and boost startup support. The newly renovated Nae:il lounge located in ECC will be used for employment consulting and startup incubating.
An important change for students of all majors is that basic software courses teaching programming languages will become mandatory for the incoming freshmen in 2020. The decision was made that the formerly mandatory Korean writing course, which came in two different two-credit classes will be unified to one three-credit course. In its place, a new elementary programming course will become a mandatory graduation requirement. For students with less exposure to programming languages prior to university entrance, tutoring classes and supplementary online courses will be provided.
The school also expects to expand contributions to the local community by helping nearby high schools and Seodaemun-gu Office with community projects. Programming competitions for female high school students and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Seodaemun-gu Office are to help volunteers initiate software education for younger students have been drafted.
If the school’s projects turn out successful, it may lead to a two-year extension of financial support from the ministry at four billion won.