SEOUL, July 17 (Korea Bizwire) — The government will spend 18.5 trillion won (US$15.35 billion) over the next five years on renovating about 2,800 dilapidated school buildings, as part of its “New Deal” project to create millions of jobs and reinvigorate the nation’s coronavirus-hit economy, the Ministry of Education said Friday.
The massive school renovation plan, dubbed “Green Smart Future School Project,” was unveiled by Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae in a news conference at a western Seoul high school.
The project calls for creating zero-carbon school buildings, smart classrooms based on advanced information and communications technologies, student-oriented spaces and links between local communities and school infrastructures, Yoo said.
Under the project, 2,835 school buildings built more than 40 years ago will be transformed into futuristic school buildings from 2021 to 2025, she explained.
Renovated school buildings will have smart classrooms featuring electronic boards and will make possible various types of classes, including education through playing, ministry officials said.
In addition, exhibition and relaxation spaces and complex facilities to be shared by local residents will be created through the renovation project, they added.
At present, about 20 percent, or 7,980, of all school buildings nationwide are older than 40 years, the ministry said, raising concern about the safety of students and deterring the introduction of ICT-based education programs.
Excluding non-educational buildings, there are 6,088 school buildings aged 40 years or older.
Of them, approximately half will be subject to renovation work centered on the installation of futuristic educational infrastructures, it noted, adding the renovation work for the remaining half will gradually begin from 2026.
The ministry expects the school building renovation project to create about 150,000 jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 metric tons annually.