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Gov't steps up efforts to encourage Korean language study overseas

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- The government will improve and increase the number of its programs to teach the Korean language to foreigners next year as the recent boom of Korean pop culture has helped push up demand for learning the language, the culture ministry said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism hopes to encourage Korean language study through a package of measures that include improving access to state-run Korean language institutes across the world. The ministry also hopes to raise the quality of Korean language teachers abroad and introduce a standard curriculum for teaching the language.

"Since Korean language study is both the start and end point of Hallyu, or the boom of Korean pop culture, we have set aside more budget next year to strategically and intensively support globalization of the language," the ministry said in a press release.

Under the plan, the government will establish 30 more state-run Korean language institutes called "King Sejong Institute" next year in Europe and the Americas, where Korean pop culture is experiencing a boom.

he ministry will also target Asian countries that export manual workers to South Korea to meet rising demand for Korean language study.

The King Sejong Institute, named after King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), who invented hangul, the Korean alphabet, runs language education programs for foreigners who are learning Korean as a second language. Seoul currently runs 60 such institutes all over the world.

New Sejong institutes will be set up in 10 Asian countries, including Myanmar, Pakistan and East Timor, the ministry said, adding that it hopes to increase the total number of schools to 120 by 2013.

Korean language instruction will be available in five different languages, including Chinese, English and Vietnamese, at the institute's website ( from next year, the ministry said.

To improve the skill of Korean language teachers across the world, the ministry will dispatch about 20 licensed instructors on a trial basis to the Sejong institutes and other Korean schools in 20 regions.

In addition, the government will introduce a standard curriculum for use at all Sejong institutes from next year to provide consistent, quality education. the ministry said.

About 15,000 foreigners around the world have taken courses at Sejong institutes since 2010, the ministry said.

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