January 27, 2012 10:25
The King Sejong Institute, the leading agency responsible for spreading Korean language and culture overseas, will increase its branches around the world to 90 this year.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Thursday said that under the auspice of the Korean Language Foundation it will open 15 new Sejong language centers in 12 countries including China, Germany, Turkey and Peru in the first half of this year.
The decision came amid growing interest among foreigners in learning Korean language following a recent Korean pop-culture boom.
That will bring the number of the Institute's branches to 51 in Asia, including 17 in China, 5 in Vietnam, and 4 in the Philippines; 12 in Europe, including 3 in Russia, and 2 each in the U.K., France, and Germany; 4 in the U.S., and 1 each in Canada, Argentina, and Mexico; 4 in Africa; and 1 in Australia.
Fifteen more are to open in the second half this year, bringing the total to 90 by year's end.
The King Sejong Institute was established in 2007 as a language education center comparable to France's Alliance Francaise, Germany's Goethe Institut and China's Confucius Institute.
Branches are normally established at overseas Korean cultural centers or local universities. They receive operational funds, textbooks, teachers, and education programs from the government and the foundation. Branches open only when there is enough demand among locals and when teachers and learning spaces are available.
The number of branches has risen sharply from a mere 10 in 2007, the year the institute was established, amid growing demand.
The foundation hopes to increase the number of branches to 500 by 2015. It will dispatch 20 language teachers on a trial basis to 20 regions for the first time this year. This is expected to bring growing job opportunities for language teachers abroad.
Meanwhile, one branch will open next Monday for the Cia-Cia, an Indonesian minority tribe that has adopted Hangul as the official alphabet for the indigenous language.
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