March 09, 2010 11:18
A growing number of immigrant teenagers who came to Korea with single mothers as they married Korean men have become a new social concern. The number of such children is currently about 1,500, the government estimates.
Many of them experience severe identity confusion and difficulties caused by the language barrier and cultural differences when they arrive here. As they lack skills and information, many give up their studies.
Kim Kyung-ok, the director of Yongshin Center for Lifelong Education, said, "Nine out of 10 second-generation immigrant teenagers leave school due to difficulties caused by language or cultural barrier."
Some 6,089, or 24.5 percent, of 24,867 school-age children in multicultural families, did not receive regular education as of 2008, according to data provided by Grand National Party lawmaker Won Hee-mok. As many as 69.6 percent leave school when they reach high school.
Dr. Lee Jae-boon, a researcher at the Korean Educational Development Institute, said, "Second-generation immigrants need a kind of 'incubator' to adapt to life in Korea, just like Hanawon," the resettlement education center for North Korean defectors. "We need to increase the number of alternative schools for second-generation teenagers to gain emotional stability and learn Korean culture."
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