|Foreigners take the state-run Korean proficiency test at Dongguk University in Seoul on Sunday. |
(Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
The number of foreigners and ethnic Koreans abroad taking the state-run Korean proficiency test are on the rise, the test organizer said Sunday.
A record number of 67,595 people have applied for the Test of Proficiency in Korean, or TOPIK, that took place at 178 sites on Saturday and Sunday, according to the National Institute for International Education, which administers the test. The NIIED said about 58,000 people took the test in April.
By country, China accounted for the majority of applicants with more than 22,000 people, followed by Japan with 8,859 and Taiwan with 4,026 people.
The TOPIK is a written exam designed to test Korean vocabulary, grammar, writing, listening and reading skills for foreigners studying the language to work or study in Korea.
On top of the nation’s growing global stature, K-pop and TV dramas have helped draw more foreigners to take the test, the Ministry of Education said.
According to the NIIED, the number of applicants has increased each year since its establishment in 1997, and the total number of test takers reached 151,000 in 2012, more than quadruple the 34,028 in 2006.
The test currently takes place in 47 countries, including Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Greece and Romania.
According to a recent ministry survey, 40.6 percent of the latest participants said they applied to take the TOPIK in order to test their language proficiency, while some 27 percent cited that they took the test in order to study, and 16.8 percent said they needed the test score to find a job in Korea.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com)