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Korean Government Initiates the "Korean Steve Jobs" Project

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We're all aware of the obsession that Samsung has with copying Apple. They were in fact found guilty of patent infringement last August and again by the ITC last week. Today we learn that the obsession about all things Apple permeates the Korean psyche to the point that the Korean Government has initiated the "Korean Steve Jobs" project; a project that is designed to foster creativity and passion into young students studying software development.

Korean manufactures like LG and Samsung are great at banging out electronic devices and supplying the industry, including Apple, with key high quality electronic components that advance smartphones and tablets. Yet they lack the power to connect software to hardware features like Apple does. They understand that this is the way to secure long term success in electronic devices. The Korean Government wishes to create a super class of software developers starting in elementary schools.


According to the Korean press, "The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning announced on August 12 that it would offer various programs for early software (SW) education. There are many activities for promoting SW education for children and youths around the world, but things are less than satisfactory in Korea. The ministry's move is to overcome this situation."


To increase elementary and middle school students' understanding of and interest in software, the ministry is planning to hold a "SW creativity camp" with focus on hands-on experience, and use the discretionary time in schools including after-school programs to expand their program in various ways.


Yoon Jong-rok, vice minister of Science, ICT & Future Planning stated that "To help students make the best use of software, the language of the 21st century, we will implement various education policies. If we make efforts to turn children crazy about games into game developers, we will be able to produce creative and talented people armed with SW like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs."


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Also Note that Samsung is in the News Today about Labor Abuse: Samsung faces Brazil lawsuit over labor conditions. The BBC reports that a Samsung factory worker only has 32 seconds to fully assemble a mobile phone and 65 seconds to put together a television set, prosecutors allege.




As a long-term expat living in South Korea, I'm generally supportive of the various attempts, however clumsily rendered in English at times, to move education in a more creative, less rigid and authoritarian. For some years now there has been a sustained and highly self-critical dialog within South Korea about the limits of a secondary education system that may produce students who are technically capable of reproducing material from textbooks, but far less confident forging new paths in knowledge.

People like Steve Jobs don't happen through regimens, more like the opposite. You're not going to get a Steve Jobs through a structured educational program. Steve has talked at length about the problems with the typical structured teaching program and how it almost killed his curiosity.

The type of people who think Steve Jobs' gifts are things that can be taught and forced are the type of people who truly don't even understand Jobs' gifts to begin with. He humanized technology. You can't teach soul. Teaching how to write code does not even BEGIN to address any of Steve Jobs talents.

Steve Jobs made it very clear that "Apple is at the crossroads of liberal arts and technology". Very few companies (much less governments) get it and unfortunately It's not something you can mandate or teach. But good luck to the Korean people none-the-less.

Korean government's admiring Steve Jobs so much, Apple and the US should be happy and proud.

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