|▲ Panelists at the Jeju Peace Forum exchange opinions on the Planned Jeju Global Education City. Photo courtesy Jeju Peace Institute
Following the keynote speech by Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general, Aug. 13 at the Jeju Peace Forum, there was a subsequent session on the Jeju Global English Education City project, which is gaining nationwide attention.
Moon Chung In, professor at Yonsei University, Korea, chaired the session with six participants exchanging opinions on the city, as a core project within the Jeju Special Self Governing Province.
The first presentation was by Christopher Bogden, Jeju Global Education City project manager for JDC (Jeju Free International City Development Center). He presented “Globalizing Education in Korea: A Case Study of Jeju English Education City,” followed by candid comments from the panel. The session took a look at the project, assessing its feasibility and prerequisites to guarantee success.
The following are transcripts of the discussion:
Christopher Bogden, JDC project manager:
“I have visited and met a number of prestigious independent schools in the U.K or U.S. What they find particularly intriguing about Jeju Global Education City is, perhaps first and foremost, its vision for itself: to build a world-class education city. The next most intriguing to westerners is Jeju Island itself.
“Many of the institutions which have been training and educating Korean students have no familiarity with Jeju. Once they are exposed to Jeju Island, they will be absolutely intrigued by its unique natural beauty. The island also has a unique geographical position in Northeast Asia. It’s within about a two-hour flight from 18 major cities with more than 700 million people.
|▲ JDC project manager Christopher Bogden. Photo courtesy Jejusori
“Above all, to be part of a city which focuses on education and the natural joy of learning for students and residents in an English language environment is critical to them. The Global Education City project is ambition as it is. But one thing that appeals to educators is truly forward looking.
“Enormous challenges are ahead of us to make this vision a reality. However, the prestigious schools I’m talking to look forward to coming to Jeju and establishing an international presence here. Jeju’s Global Education City can offer education to a multinational student population; not exclusively for Koreans, but also students from East Asian nations, and eventually the west.”
Moon Jung In, Professor, Yonsei University: (Translated from the Korean)
“I have met Han Seung Soo, Prime Minister of Korea several times. He reaffirmed his strong commitment to the successful implementation of this project. To make the project a reality, several key factors should be taken into account.
“First, in a situation in which international schools become part of an over-competitive market in Asian countries, the Jeju Global Education City should seek a strong competitive edge over the other international schools.
“Next, private investment for this project is not as easy as it seems. JDC needs to develop and implement innovative strategies which would appeal to investors. Third, this project is neither a Jeju project, nor a Korean project. It is, and should be a Northeast Asian project.
“Without maintaining a close coordination between the local and national governments, the project will be far from easy. Also, a diverse student population of the international schools is imperative to integrate Korean students into English-speaking environments.”
Yun Chung-il, headmaster, Korean Minjok Leadership Academy: (Translated from the Korean)
“I believe three prerequisites are to be met in order to turn this ideal into reality. All the students in my school are required to keep EOP (English Only Policy) in both classrooms and daily school life. Unfortunately, I don’t think it works out for them, since Korean students are not willing to speak English in front of other Koreans. Why do they have to when they can communicate in Korean?
“Therefore, the first prerequisite is, I believe, to maintain a minimum 30 percent English-speaking population in the international schools which will be developed on Jeju Island.
“Deciding how to recruit certified English teachers is another prerequisite. Without a strong incentive system, it will be hard to attract highly qualified staff as well as outstanding students. Thirdly, all textbooks should be in natural English, not English translation.”
John Linton, director, International Health Care Center of Severance Hospital
(Translated from the Korean) “If this Global Education City succeeds, I think the project will serve as a platform to help other projects such as the (proposed) Resort-type Residential Complex and the Healthcare Town to succeed. I am optimistic about the success of the project.
“The demand for overseas study is significantly growing in Korea. It wouldn’t matter that much whether the schools are British schools or American schools. According to a survey, about 86 percent of respondents intended to send their children to Jeju Global Education City if its global English education programs were well established.”