▲ Jeju Development Center Chief Director Byun Jung-il addresses the gathering of guests and dignitaries at the seminal ground-breaking ceremony for the Jeju Global Education City in Moseulpo June 17. Photo courtesy JDC
The Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) held the ground breaking ceremony for Jeju Global Education City in Jeju Special Self-governing Province last June 17. Around 1,700 people attended the ceremony including local residents.
This on-going project is aimed at providing both domestic and international students with high-quality, global educational opportunities and becoming a world-class leader among educational cities.
Korea has been spilling out US dollars overseas for years due to the great pressure put on the Korean society on acquiring the best English education. In 1995, the number of Korean students who went overseas to study English was 27,668, which sharply increased more than 5 times to 127,100 by 2008.
A government survey done last year says nearly half of all South Korean parents wanted to send their children abroad. However, compared to billions of dollars and overflowing eagerness spent on private education for learning English, Korea students’ TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) speaking evaluation remains low compared to many other countries.
In addition, various social issues such as inability to adjust to the educational environment after returning to Korea, separation of family members, and identity crisis of youngsters studying overseas emerged.
▲ A group of schoolchildren perform for the ground-breaking ceremony at the site of Jeju Global Education City. Photo courtesy Jeju Development Center
To develop a fundamental solution for such issues, the government of the Republic of Korea announced Jeju Global Education City Development Plan in December 2006, and designated the project among seven major national projects in September 2008.
This nationally funded project plans to open three schools (two private and one public) in the city for domestic and international students by 2011 and complete constructing four elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools by 2015.
Residents and students will have to use English as the first language. English will be commonly used in all commercial, cultural, sports facilities, and parks. Jeju will not only meet the demand for quality education for the English language domestically, but will also be positioned as a global education hub of Asia-Pacific region, attracting a number of students from China, Japan, Taiwan and other nations in Southeast Asia
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