SEJONG, Dec. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea said Wednesday that it plans to set up an innovation academy next year to educate about 2,500 software experts by 2023 in the latest move to better cope with the fourth industrial revolution.
A two-year academy — modeled after Ecole 42, a French computer programming school — is set to open in September and the government plans to provide 180.6 billion won (US$160.7 million) by 2023 to the academy, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
South Korea also plans to set aside 395 billion won by 2023 to strengthen the country’s competitiveness in such fields as future vehicles, drones and artificial intelligence as well as big data, the ministry said.
The move comes as South Korea faces a serious shortage of experts in software, artificial intelligence and other critical fields in the fourth industrial revolution.
Also Wednesday, Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said the government will mobilize all policy tools available to ease concerns on next year’s planned minimum wage hike.
Hong said the government will quickly implement a package worth 9 trillion won to help companies cope with the hike.
South Korea’s minimum wage is set to rise to 8,350 won next year, up 10.9 percent from 7,530 won in 2018, as part of President Moon Jae-in’s income-led, or consumption-led, economic growth strategy. The rate jumped 16.4 percent on-year in 2018.
Last week, Moon indicated that his government may slow down the pace of legal minimum wage hikes given the strong backlash from businesses amid the sluggish economy.
Separately, Lee Ho-seung, the first vice minister of economy and finance, held a meeting with senior officials of the Bank of Korea, the Financial Supervisory Service and other relevant agencies to discuss countermeasures following big declines in stock markets in the U.S. and other major countries.
U.S. stocks tumbled on Christmas Eve amid uncertainties, with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping 2.91 percent and the broad-based S&P 500 decreasing 2.71 percent. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 2.21 percent.
The government will maintain round-the-clock monitoring of financial markets and risk factors while closely monitoring impacts of destabilizing factors, the ministry said.
“We will take measures to stabilize markets in a swift and stern manner in case of market instability,” the ministry said in a statement.