South Korea will join the Universe Awareness Network as a new National Node. The outreach programme of the Space Light Laboratory will serve as the national node of astronomy education and outreach for children in South Korea.
The Space Light Laboratory’s (SL LAB) outreach program is divided into two types. One is an educational program for all children in the countryside area, in areas that are hard to reach, like islands or mountains. The other is for children who need social care (single-parent families, orphanages, and people with disabilities).
Each program is supported by the government or municipalities. However, some programs are carried out purely through the volunteer work of staff members of SL LAB.
“Republic of Korea is a country that has been transformed from a country that has received aid to a country that provides aid,” says national coordinator Elijah Kim. “Now we are putting a lot of effort into astronomical science education.”
These are some of the astronomy education programs in South Korea:
Moving Observatory Program (for children in countryside area)
Staff members visit the area with a telescope, mobile planetarium or a scientific laboratory. It is a program that shows stars directly to the students who are distanced from the benefits of science education. This program can be joined by any of the local children.
In 2015, the program visited 20 elementary schools, 2156 children in Gangwon State (an area adjacent to North Korea, the most mountainous region in Korea).
In 2016, 12 events were organised, for a total of 531 children. Our country constellation observation program is sometimes accompanied with a local science teacher society.
Donation for Education (science sharing activities by volunteers)
Support for orphanage, education programs for youths who are in crisis of schooling, children in youth detention center, suicide prevention education support. It is composed of programs for children in need of social care, which are designed to stimulate interest in the universe and deliver hope.
Do-Dream Program (astronomy outreach in national science museums)
This program is carried out through the support of the government-funded research institute and national lottery fund. Therefore, it is based in national science museums of Korea. It is based on STEAM as well as astronomy. SL LAB develops and carries out educational programs for the relevant science museums.
UNAWE Korea (South) is based on a non-profit section of SL LAB, which manages five national and local government astronomical observatories. Elijah Kim is CEO of SL LAB, who works with a team of 30 astronomers.