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Seoul school to open for defectors’ children

A boarding school for North Korean defector children will open in Seoul next week, aimed at offering Korean language lessons to those from low-income households, a non-profit defectors’ group said Friday.

According to North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, the Samheung School will start its first semester on Feb. 25, with 27 elementary students.

Considering that their parents usually return home late after work, the school will be operated as a boarding school. Tuition fees and boarding expenses will be offered free of charge, the group said.

Some defector children have difficulty adapting to general local schools. Among other things, they cannot speak the Korean language well due to their long stay in other countries such as China before entering South Korea.

“The group has thought about the necessity of an alternative school that teaches the children on (the South’s) ideology and other knowledge,” said Kim Myung-sung, director general of NKIS, which is composed of defectors who have graduated from North Korean universities.

The group has established the school on the 300 square-meter site in Guro district, which accommodates seven classrooms and a residential hall.

“We will help them gain a basic academic background and offer cultural and sports activities so that they can attend a local school and better adapt to society finally,” Kim said.

The school’s first principal is Chae Kyoung-hee, 41, former mathematics teachers at a middle school in North Hamkyoung Province in the North. She also taught in Hanawon, a resettlement center for defectors here.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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