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Last updated: 16.03.12

South Korea e-learning sector enjoys growth

South Korea's e-learning market is realising sustained growth, according to the country's government.

Yonhap News reports that over half of the populace over the age of three have used e-learning educational aids or similar devices.

In 2010, 49 per cent of these people had used virtual learning environments in their education, but this figure is now 52.8 per cent, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy revealed.

There was a 6.9 per cent year-on-year jump in the number of e-learning course service providers in 2011, hitting 1,656, with a 7.3 per cent growth in the number of people employed by these firms, which reached 25,182.

Combined sales from these enterprises increased by 9.2 per cent over the year, with transactions reaching 2.45 trillion won (£1.39 billion).

The government attributed this spike in part to a greater use of e-learning courses in educational institutions.

Last year, 82.3 per cent of all schools in the country used online learning in their official curriculum, which represents a 0.9 per cent rise since 2010, the ministry stated.

"To help further foster a niche for the e-learning industry, the government will establish a support centre that will support the development of new smart learning systems," the ministry was quoted by the news source as saying.

By 2015, South Korea intends to deliver education to its citizens over computers through online training programs and virtual learning environments.

The county's minister of education, science and technology Ju-Ho Lee recently told the BBC: "The transfer from the traditional paper textbooks to digital textbooks will allow students to leave their heavy backpacks and explore the world beyond the classroom."

Wireless networks will enable the population to learn "wherever and whenever" they want, through internet-connected television sets, PCs, tablet computers and laptops, he added.

Quality will be maintained and costs will be lowered by the government supporting an open-content marketplace, the minister remarked.

"Smart Education will change how we perceive textbooks," he added.