The Korean government said Sunday it will enhance education to combat ethnic discrimination among all elementary, middle and high school students.
The Education Ministry said it will spend 21.5 billion won ($20 million) this year on programs for students from multicultural families. This includes a newly introduced program aiming to teach students the importance of coexisting with people from other cultures.
Some 120 schools will be funded by the government to run antidiscrimination and antiprejudice programs for all students in the country.
The ministry said the purpose of the education programs is to prepare Korean society for its rapid transformation into a multicultural society. The provisional data by the ministry puts the number of students from multicultural families at an all-time high of 71,504, more than double the number in 2010.
This is largely due to a steady increase in foreign brides and the overall foreign population. The number of foreigners residing in the country exceeded 1.5 million as of June 2013, accounting for 3 percent of the total population, according to Korea Immigration Service.
“For the integration (of members of society), we’ve decided to expand the education programs concerning multicultural families to all students,” the Education Ministry said.
The government added that the aid systems for students of multicultural families will be expanded this year.
Some 100 schools will run the “Korean as a Second Language” program, and the ministry will operate 80 preparatory schools that helps students from ethnic minorities adapt to Korean culture while teaching them the Korean language.
More than 6,000 students will benefit from the college mentor service, in which a college student on a government scholarship provides free education for the students.
The ministry will also expand its “Global Bridge” program, which has universities spot talented students from ethnic minorities to provide them with vocational training.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)