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The Digital Competency Center

4. DCC

Since its inception in 2020 for the purpose of realizing a digitally inclusive society, the Digital Competency Center Project has been providing digital competency training for citizens to enjoy the benefits of digital technologies and services as their lives and socioeconomic activities are rapidly digitalized. Thanks to the innovation, any person in Korea can visit their local Digital Competency Center for a free, hands-on training programmes to foster skills for using mobile or digital devices in daily life.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

With the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of Koreans, in particular the rapid transition to a non-face-to-face lifestyle of electronic devices and online services, the less digitally capable have found life more inconvenient, sometimes even to a life-threatening degree. Thus, the Digital Competency Center project was launched in September 2020 to foster the digital capacities of every Korean, so that they can participate in socioeconomic activities without being excluded or discriminated against in the digital space, and ultimately benefit from digitalization.

This project, catering to every Korean regardless of age, location, situation, and current digital competency, contributed to realizing a digitally inclusive world. Examples of the programs that were launched include:

  • Metaverse experience in public childcare services
  • Software instructor training courses for women on career breaks
  • Assistance in using local business vouchers and registering products on smart stores for small business owners
  • Learning how to open online shopping sites and using job search sites for multicultural families

Among the participants, 44.4% of the trainees were over the age of 60, taking up the largest portion, but the distribution was even across different age groups, with 21% in their teens and 13.6% in their 50s. About 83,000 people (around 13% of the total trainees) took the training program to participate in digital economic activities. 45,000 of them were searching for jobs or about to start a business, 25,000 of them were on a career break, and 11,000 of them were small business owners.

With the support of local governments, we operated 1,000+ Digital Competency Centers in many locations in residents’ vicinity, particularly focusing on making it more accessible for the marginalized, such as the disabled and senior citizens. We operated 274 Digital Competency Centers in rural areas (1/4 of the total number) and also sent Digital Competency Center buses to educationally marginalized areas for at-home education, helping to bridge the digital gap between different regions.

We hired 4,876 instructors and supporters, 30.9% of which were over the age of 50, creating new local jobs during the pandemic. We also collaborated with our partner institution to run a Digital Senior Internship, fostering digital competency for senior citizens and supporting them in finding jobs and social activities. We also developed a common guideline to continue providing training curricula safely even during the pandemic. We adhered to social distancing guidelines and introduced various types of classes such as online courses to prevent learning loss. Also, jointly with 17 metropolitan and provincial governments, we’ve established a system to manage the outcomes of our training program in real-time. We’ve also developed and distributed standardized digital education curricula and content.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

1) The Digital Competency Center provides a comprehensive digital training program from basic, daily-life digital capacities to vocational training for every Korean in their vicinity.

2) The curricula are catered to each individual’s level, with basic, intermediate (daily life), and advanced courses, and to their various backgrounds, such as multi-cultural families, senior citizens, farmers, fishers, and small business owners.

3) We send Digital Competency Center Buses to marginalized regions across Korea to provide them with digital education opportunities.

4) We operate a help desk for residents to handle their issues with digital devices in real-time.

What is the current status of your innovation?

The Digital Competency Center project has been underway for three years since 2020. Our 1,000+ Digital Competency Centers across Korea have provided a total of 1.5 million people annually with digital education, while creating a total of 14,000 jobs by harnessing local human resources (high school and college graduates, women in ICT on involuntary career breaks, and retirees from related fields as digital instructors and supporters for the program.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

We established a panel for Digital Competency across central and local governments (including the Ministry of Science and ICT, National Information Society Agency), which allows us to identify and respond to educational needs stemming from the Digital Transformation. This has enabled us to function as the center of digitalization for the local society and economy.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

As our Centers are in residents’ vicinity with the help of local governments, they have more convenient access to education and can solve issues with digital devices. Hiring local educational companies, instructors, and supporters contributed to revitalizing the local economies. In Gyeonggi Province, we collaborated with the Immigration & Integration Program, through which Filipino migrants supported the training of other migrant women and children from multicultural families.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Approximately 1.54 million people have taken digital competency courses from September 2020 to September 2022. The trainees’ level of digital competency improved by 24.7% in 2020 and 28.8% in 2021.

  • Number of Trainees:
    • Sep 2020 to Feb 2021 (6 months): 428,000
    • Apr 2021 to Dec 2021 (9 months): 656,000
    • Apr 2022 to Sep 2022 (9 months, still in progress): 457,000

We measured the improvement in our trainees’ digital competency to objectively assess the outcomes of our training program. The improvement in digital competency compares the digital competencies of our trainees before and after our training. Our assessment was based on the measurement scale found in “The Report on the Digital Divide,” a study on the digital competencies of Koreans, including the marginalized. In conclusion, we found that our trainees’ level of digital competency improved by 24.7% in 2020 and 28.8% in 2021.

In 2021, the program achieved the following results: 17 metropolitan and 215 local governments in Korea participated in this project, training a total of 656,000 residents (including senior citizens and the disabled) to foster digital competency essential for this era of non-face-to-face economic activities. More than 20% of our training programs were catered to marginalized groups such as senior citizens, farmers, fishers, and people on work hiatus, serving as a social safety net.

Challenges and Failures

We offered a diversified curriculum for small business owners and office workers who could not commit to a fixed schedule or venue during regular work hours. To accommodate their needs, about 20% of the courses were held after work hours and during weekends in 2021. The fixed schedules at the Digital Competency Center led to certain regions being detached from education. To solve this issue, we sent Digital Competency Center buses to educationally marginalized areas for at-home education.

These buses, equipped with digital kiosks, tablet PCs, etc., provided hands-on, practical training for people to be able to use digital devices in their daily lives. People could also visit these buses to get immediate help concerning their daily troubles with digital devices. We also installed portable booths in public facilities such as schools and hospitals to provide even more people with such educational opportunities.

Conditions for Success

Collaboration with local governments is an important success factor. We established a panel for Digital Competency across central and local governments (including the Ministry of Science and ICT, National Information Society Agency), through which we were able to enhance cooperation in budgeting, providing venues and region-specific curricula for Digital Competency Centers, efficiently running the Centers, and promoting this project.

Also, Sharing know-how to success and establishing a cooperative system with related institutions is important for our Digital Competency Centers to continue developing systematically. To this end, we have identified and operated cooperative programs through MOUs, meeting educational needs, sharing venues, designing interlinked education programs, and promoting them nationally. We provide support for digital transition in various areas by adding to the curricula offered by our partner institutions.


We plan to provide our content to ODA recipient countries in 2023, thereby contributing to bridging the digital divide across the globe. 20 topics will be chosen from the 70 currently provided by our Centers, and the textbooks and video content will be updated and translated into English and Spanish. The Digital Competency Center is collaborating with domestic companies to expand its realm to vocational training in a digitalized society.

Jointly with Coupang, our centers in Gyeonggi Province provided opportunities to learn how to use digital devices and apps for those who wanted to work at Coupang but had to give up because they didn’t have such capacities. Our centers in Jeonnam Province, jointly with Yogiyo, provided small business owners with opportunities to learn how to use delivery apps and increase sales through online marketing.

Lessons Learned

The Digital Competency Center has strived to prepare for the Digital Transformation despite the ongoing pandemic, pursuing an unprecedented digital competency training program catering to the different capacities of Korean learners and contributing to a digitally inclusive world. All 17 metropolitan and 226 local governments in Korea participate in the Digital Competency Center project. As our Centers are easily accessible, local residents can have better, quicker access to education and support concerning digital issues, as well as a customized curriculum based on their educational needs.

Our Centers offered various online and at-home courses to prevent learning loss. Also, about 20% of the courses were held after work hours and during weekends in 2021 for small business owners and office workers. As a result, the satisfaction of the 2021 curriculum reached 98%. Establishing a cooperative system with partner institutions is important t for this project to continue developing.

Anything Else?

The Digital Competency Center’s YouTube channel provides educational content for users to foster digital competency in a self-directed manner.
The said content’s curriculum for digital competency, offered in Korean as well as in other languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese, is divided into three levels: basics, daily life (intermediate), and advanced. A link to the content provided by the Digital Competency Center can be found in this page.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos

Year: 2020
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

24 November 2023

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