Lucky students at 50 kindergartens in South Korea have the opportunity to test out the latest educational aid – robot teachers.
Known as the “R-learning” program, two prototypes are being put to the test. One, called Irobi, gets to work in the classroom, doing the register and checking the students’ moods.
The other robot, called Jenibo, works in the gymnasium.
[Kim Da-eun, Kindergarten Student]:
"The robot can be an aerobic teacher. It can also teach national gymnastics, too."
The robots are helping out in kindergartens where there is a shortage of teachers and assistants and a lack of teaching programs.
They certainly seem popular with the students!
[Kang Bo-go, Kindergarten Student]:
"I feel good when the robot teaches us national gymnastics. I feel good."
The program was launched by the government earlier this year. The idea is to provide not only robots but also an integrated teaching program to assist in teachers.
The teachers too have welcomed their new assistants.
[Hyun Sae-rom, Kindergarten Teacher]:
"I think the robot can deal with children when teachers don't have enough time to take care of each one. Besides, it has many convenient functions in the way that it can check the students' daily attendance which was the teachers' job and it can regularly check the children's mood and condition."
The educational robot isn't meant to replace human teachers, but to assist them and make classes more fun for children. It also works as a means of teaching children about robotics.
The initiative is a collaboration between the government's technology and education departments.
[Oh Sang-rok, Robot Division Director]:
"Our primary goal was to apply the digital high technology, which also includes robotics, to the early childhood education system so that we can provide high-quality, customised and interactive education for everyone and make the education system and service sustainable."
By the end of next year the robots are expected to be rolled out in another 450 or so kindergartens in South Korea.