Hangeul Scheme for Indonesian Tribe Folds

      October 09, 2012 12:29

      Children of the Cia-Cia tribe learn their aboriginal language using textbooks written in Korean.

      Hangeul education among the Cia-Cia tribe of Indonesia's Buton Island has abruptly ended. Kyungpook National University, in charge of the Sejong School there, has pulled out of the project due to financial difficulties as the one-year contract ended in August, the culture ministry here said on Monday.

      The Korean language school was closed down on Aug. 31 and the teacher returned to Korea, it added. This follows the de facto abortion last year of a plan by a private organization, the Hunminjeongeum Society, to get the Korean alphabet adopted by the tribe as the official alphabet for the indigenous language.

      The case shows how difficult it is to propagate Hangeul abroad. When the Cia-Cia decided to adopt it in 2009, they may have expected other support from Korea as well. But without a comprehensive plan for cultural and economic cooperation, the Korean government and academia only seemed to be keen on propagating the alphabet, critics say.

      The Cia-Cia, who number about 80,000, have their own language but do not have an alphabet, so they had planned to adopt Hangeul.

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