Press Room

Sejong City to have Korea’s first smart school

An electronic message board displays real-time notifications (Photo: Gonggam Korea)

Korea’s first smart school opened on March 2 in Sejong Special Autonomous City, a special administrative district in Chuncheongnam-do (South Chungcheong Province).

Hansol High School is one of the four schools that will open this month in the city, along with Chamsaem Kindergarten, Chamsaem Elemantary School, and Hansol Middle School. As a smart school, it incorporates various types of information and communications technology (ITC) into the learning process.

The main entrance of the school has a RFID reader that senses electronic student ID cards. Once students enter the school, the reader system automatically records the student’s attendance and sends a message to the parents.

Each classroom is equipped with an electronic blackboard and lecture desk along with an access point (AP) device. There is also an electronic message board in the classrooms and cafeteria which is used for delivering real-time notifications.

Each class is composed of 25 students who will also receive their own smart pad. Instead of writing in a notebook, students use their smart pads which are connected with the electronic blackboards in their classrooms; when a teacher gives students questions on the e-blackboard, students write down the answers on their smart pads and the answers appear on the blackboard. This is expected to boost activated communication and interaction during class.

Chamsaem Elemantary School, which is slated to open in March, is also equipped with cutting-edge educational technology.

The school has built a virtual experience room with a 3D electronic blackboard. It also has built a video lecture room which allows students to take courses from overseas schools using a video teleclass system.

A total of 150 schools including 66 kindergartens, 41 elementary schools, 21 middle schools, 20 high schools, and two special schools will open by 2030, the year the city will be complete.

By Jessica Seoyoung Choi Staff Writer

Sejong City is almost, but not quite, finished

*The countdown has begun for the launch of Korea’s mini-capital in South Chungcheong, the new home for 36 ministries and government agencies and 10,452 civil servants. In articles running the next three days, the Korea JoongAng Daily looks at whether the new city will make the government more efficient, the economic impact and the political history of the project.

After an hour on a bullet train from Seoul Station to Daejeon, another hour on a subway to Banseok Station, 20 minutes waiting at a bus stop and another 30 minutes on the bus, a cluster of concrete buildings emerge in the barren, snow-covered fields of South Chungcheong. The road is empty of cars or passersby, and construction trucks are idle along the road. As the bus stops, a recorded announcement declares the arrival at Cheotmaeul, the first village of Sejong City.

Located 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) south of Seoul, Sejong City is Korea’s spanking new administrative capital. The brainchild of the late President Roh Moo-hyun is now becoming a reality. The Lee Myung-bak administration tried scrapping the plan, saying it would be folly to move most government offices so far out of Seoul, but the National Assembly shot down the attempt last June. Since then, the plan to build a “multifunctional administrative city” named for the great king from the Joseon Dynasty has steadily moved forward.

Last July, the road map for the massive move of the government to Sejong City was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office. It announced that 16 ministries and agencies and 20 government offices would begin moving this year, and the move will be complete by 2014. A total of 10,452 civil servants will relocate their lives from Seoul to Sejong City.

(The government bodies that will not move from Seoul include the President’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Unification, the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the National Assembly.)

The Prime Minister’s Office will be the first to move in September, followed by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Fair Trade Commission. Six agencies under the ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office will also relocate.

While construction continues on the government complex that will house the Prime Minister’s Office and other ministries, the first bloc of apartments, named “First Prime,” was completed in December after four and a half years of work. The complex has 2,242 apartments and 215 stores, and people started moving in on Dec. 26.

While the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency said 302 households have moved into First Prime, a recent visit found a surrealistically lifeless scene. There were no signs of residents, and the gardens were bare. Commercial buildings in the complex were largely vacant, except for about 10 real estate agencies and two bank branches. There were no supermarkets, restaurants, dry cleaners, drug stores, clinics or private tutoring schools, the most common combination of commercial buildings in the usual apartment complex in Korea.

“The people started moving in in late December,” said Lim Jeong-min, a real estate agent who recently opened shop at First Prime. “Most of the owners of the apartments are public servants in Seoul, but the people who actually moved in are locals who were looking for cheaper jeonse [key money] than in nearby Daejeon or Jochiwon. When the Prime Minister’s Office relocates in September and the government offices are complete, we will see more public servants.”

According to Lim, there are about 30 real estate agencies in the complex and the nearby town of Daeseong-ri doing business for First Prime.

“We think the situation will get a lot better in about five years,” she said. “It’s the same for every new town. It’s like the first days in Bundang.” (Bundang is a large community developed in the 1990s in Gyeonggi, intended to attract homeowners living in Seoul. At the time, the project led a real estate boom.)

Not all the people doing business in Sejong are as sanguine as Lim.

“We opened up three days ago, but business is so bad,” said the owner of an interior decorating shop. “I rarely see customers. Even when I do, their first question is always ‘What’s the cheapest material?’ I really feel discouraged.”

The designer, who didn’t want to be named, contradicted Lim. “I used to have my business in Seoul, and I did business in Bundang and other newly developed towns,” he said. “This is nothing like Bundang. You come at night and count the windows that are lit. You will be scared to see how dark and gloomy it is.”

“So far, we only have banks and real estate agencies here,” said Lee Sun-hyeong, another real estate agent. “The people who move in will have many complaints because they can’t even buy necessities right away.”

Construction of a new government complex continues in advance of a massive relocation of government offices by 2013. The Prime Minister’s Office moves in September, and its building is about 90 percent done. By Park Sang-moon

According to the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency, up to 920 households are scheduled to move into First Prime by the end of February. Most of them are expected to be residents of nearby cities and towns and some public servants preparing for the government offices’ relocations. By June, 4,278 households are scheduled to move in, and First Prime will have a population of 17,000, the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency said.

Elementary, middle and high schools will open in March, and three childcare centers to look after 144 children will be opened. By June, two more childcare facilities will open.

For now, a state-run health service center will open in the area to provide basic services, while private clinics are expected to open sometime in the future. The closest general hospital with an emergency room is located in Daejeon, about 30 minutes away by car.

For residents of First Prime, passenger cars will be a must, although the government has declared an ambitious plan to make an environmentally friendly city. Aiming at reducing 70 percent of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, Sejong plans to replace 15% of total energy usage with renewable energy, and a public transportation system and bicycle paths will be built to discourage residents from relying on cars. The Bus Rapid Transit system, using unmanned buses, will connect the apartment complexes and the government complex, and link Sejong City with other cities, said Choi Young-joon, a public affairs official at the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency.

But the BRT is behind schedule and is scheduled to start in August. The only means of accessing Sejong City now is by car or public bus. Right now, there only two bus routes available from Daejeon to Sejong City. The 651 bus runs every hour, 16 times a day. Bus 109 runs every 20 minutes during the daytime.

The Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency said the transportation network connecting Sejong to nearby cities will be completed by the end of this year. A road to link the city with the Osong KTX station in North Chungcheong will be complete in late June, and it will shorten travel time between Osong and Sejong City from 30 minutes to 10 minutes.

Other roads connecting Sejong City to the highway interchange and the city of Daejeon will also be completed by the end of this year.

“When the roads are all completed, Sejong City will be accessible by the bullet train, regular trains and highways within 15 minutes of travel time,” said Song Ki-sup, chairman of the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency. “The transportation network will be a core infrastructure that will strengthen the city’s competitiveness.”

“This year alone, we have allocated 192.7 billion won [$167 million] to invest in transportation,” said Yu Geun-ho, a planning and finance officer at the agency.

The city also has a long-term plan to build more roads to reach the nearby cities of Cheongwon, Cheongju and Jochiwon by 2017.

While promising that Sejong City will be “Korea’s face to the world” and “Asia’s new green metropolis,” officials at the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency admit it will take time.

“I think things will settle down around 2014,” Choi said. “It won’t necessarily be a great place for high-ranking public servants with college student-aged children, but this will be a great place to live if you are a rank-and-file civil servant with young children.”

The government says its aim is for Sejong City to be a self-sustaining city with a population of 500,000 by 2030. At 73 square kilometers (28 square miles), Sejong City is 27.5 times the size of Yeouido in western Seoul. Of the 22.5 trillion won budget for building the city, more than 7.6 trillion won has already been spent on infrastructure, residences and the new government complex.

While the building for the Prime Minister’s Office was more than 90 percent complete as of January, buildings for other government ministries were about 40 percent complete at the start of the year.

Other administrative preparations are also ongoing. Sejong City will have its first mayoral and education office elections on April 11, and the official launch of the special autonomous city is scheduled for July 1.

“I have worked years on this project,” Choi said, overlooking the construction site of the government complex from the Milmaru Observation Tower, built in 2009 in a nearby park. “The Sejong City project had many ups and downs, but I feel very proud to see the progress. I really want to see the completion of the government complex building. We plan to cover the rooftop with greenery and flowers, and the view will be magnificent when the spring comes. I really think Sejong City will be an awesome place to be.”

Full article source :

Smart School Stands Out with Cutting-Edge Technology -Sejong City in Korea-

See collection of all new ICT learning tools here

HansolHigh Schoolopened on March 2 at theFirstTownapartment complex. One of the new sophomores of the school Jihye JEON goes into the school gate and as soon as the Radio-Frequency Identification reader checks in her electronic student ID, it sends a text message that says “Jihye JEON has arrived at school at08:20” to her parents.

 The RFID reader sends a text messages to parents when a student checks in.

 Her classroom on the fourth floor is full of IT tools for learning such as electronic board, electronic lecture desk, smart pad, message board and wireless antenna (AP). She has 24 class mates in her classroom. JEON checks new information such as timetable, school activity, lunch menu, etc. through her message board.

 When the class starts, her teacher writes on the electronic board with various colors and students can see this right on their smart pad in real time. A student sends a question to the teacher through the smart pad and she sends the answer back to the whole class. This interactive mode allows teachers to check if their students are concentrating on and keeping up with the class.

 While students are in the class, their safety is in control on the second floor of the school. Six schools in theFirstTownare seen on the screens. Two of them show the least traffic area of each school through CCTV cameras. Two more screens show the server status and the rest two show whether the facilities such as electricity, elevators, air-conditioners, and firefighting equipment are in good condition.

 All the schools in Sejong will be as smart asHansolHigh School. Cutting-edge ICT tools make learning and teaching ubiquitous in Sejong. The Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency gave a demonstration of the smart school system on February 15 to showcase the use of the system in real education environment.

 Audio-visual rooms on the first floor are equipped with 200-inch silver screen and soundproof walls to enjoy 3D movies as if you are in a cinema. Outside the school building is a small ecological park.

 School violence or bullying is strictly prohibited as the school installs CCTV cameras at some least traffic area. The camera records voice as well and when a student presses an emergency button, a couple of cameras angle to that direction. The video taken is sent to principal, vice principal, teachers’ office, and administration office. The system is expected to tackle any forms of school violence which has been a serious issue and frequent news item recently.

 MACCA’s Deputy Chairman Chungjae LEE said “Media and education officials and experts have long been curious about the smart school system in Sejong. I believe this is a great opportunity to give Sejong a momentum to be a world-class city with its superior learning environment and competitive advantage in education.”

Throughout this year, Sejong will have six schools open – four (one kindergarten, elementary/junior high/high school each) in March and two (one kindergarten and one elementary school) in September. By 2030 when the city is completed, 150 schools (66 kindergartens, 41 elementary schools, 21 junior high schools, 20 high schools, and 2 special schools) will be established in Sejong.

For more information, call the Education Facility Planning Division at 41-860-9223.


Public Buildings Receive Barrier-free Platinum Status

Sejong citizens will enjoy a pedestrian-friendly and barrier-free environment. MACCA is making its all-out efforts to provide proper and safe access to buildings and facilities regardless of disability, gender and age. Branding itself as a barrier-free city, Sejong will make its pedestrian roads without bumps, signboards, and unnecessary slope and gaps.

MACCA Chairman Han said the city has received barrier-free platinum status on its four public facilities, most recently on its national library. The barrier-free certification system is a Continue reading “Public Buildings Receive Barrier-free Platinum Status” »

Sejong Goes Green with Bicycles

Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency
November 18, 2010

Public Bike Sharing Program
Sejong Goes Green with Bicycles

Bicycling will be an important means of transportation and a dominating feature of the Sejong cityscape, according to MACCA Chairman Han. Plus, the city will have a public bike sharing program in concert with its 215-mile bike paths. Continue reading “Sejong Goes Green with Bicycles” »

Spot Light
The City is named after King Sejong who profoundly impacted Korean history with the introduction of Hangul, the alphabet system of the Korean language and technological advances during his reign in the 15th century.