▲ A sunny day at the NLCS-Jeju campus. Photo courtesy NLCS-Jeju
The walls have been painted, teachers hired, and students enrolled. The North London Collegiate School (NLCS), the first school to be built within the Jeju Global Education City (JGEC), will officially open its doors for the first time this semester on Sept. 26.
The prestigious 160-year-old English girls’ school has taken a bold step by lengthening its hallowed halls all the way to Jeju to be the first school of the ambitions JGEC project in Daejung-eup, Seogwipo City. The entire project is set on 3.7 million square meters and will be home to six to seven elementary, middle and high schools, as well as sports and commercial facilities when completed.
The stated purpose of this project is to curb the trend in South Korea of parents sending their children abroad to earn an international education in English.
NLCS Chairwoman Helen Stone told The Weekly in August 2010 that she had first come to Jeju in October 2008 to look into the possibility of establishing a branch school here.
“[The JDC] described the concept of the Global Education City and we just felt that this was something that we would like to be involved with,” Stone said, adding the more her school investigated the proposal “the more realistic it became.”
After negotiations between NLCS and JDC, they came to an agreement on March 26, 2010, NLCS’s 160th anniversary, and the two organizations solidified their commitment to building the NLCS campus in Jeju.
Groundbreaking commenced that following Aug. 4 with Jeju Governor Woo Keun Min, National Assemblyman Kim Woo Nam, NLCS-Jeju Campus Principal Peter Daly, and other notables in attendance.
With construction underway the next step was to fill desks with students and classrooms with teachers. The student application period came to a close on Jan. 21 resulting in numbers less than ex pected. Jeju Free International Development Center Edu-City Dept. Director Park Chul Hee told The Weekly that the ratio was 1.4 students to every available spot, with the 11th grade not garnering enough applications to fill all the seats allotted.
This may seem like a negative, but 402 students of those who applied qualified for admittance which is twice the average other international schools. This is a “50 percent … acceptance rate, which is way more than the expected 30 percent, [which] shows that many excellent students applied to our school,” said an NLCS-Jeju official in an April 26, 2011 Jeju Ilbo article.
The school held two more additional application periods for all grades; one from June 1 to 10, and on July 4 to 18, 2011.
Now, with construction completed, and roughly 450 students and 65 teachers ready to begin the year, NLCS will soon embark on its first school term in Jeju. The ambitious JGEC project, which has been years in the making, will take its first step in fulfilling its mission of keeping South Korean students (and their parents’ money) in the country while elevating its standing in international education.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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