The number of non-native Korean speakers taking the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) more than doubled compared to last year.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation on Tuesday said a total of 85,777 people applied to take the TOPIK in the second half of this year, which will happen on Sept. 20-21 at 86 sites in 24 countries. Together with 67,003 people who took the test in the first half of this year, this totals 150,000, as against last year's 72,292.
The TOPIK consists of vocabulary/grammar, writing, listening and reading comprehension and was first launched in 1997, administered once a year. There are two types of tests, standard and business. By 2006, the number of test takers had increased 13-fold from 2,274 in 1997 to 30,270 and is now held twice a year to meet demand.
Turkey, Laos and Indonesia were newly added to the list of countries where the TOPIK can be sat this year, bringing the number to 31. From next year, the test will be also held in Spain and the Czech Republic. The number of people taking the business Korean test in China alone exceeded 80,000 this year.