A total of 30 universities in South Korea currently offer diverse undergraduate and graduate programs which focus on nurturing multicultural specialists, according to recent figures from the Ministry of Justice.
Nine universities including Sun Moon University, Chongshin University and Konyang Cyber University operate departments aimed at fostering experts specializing in multicultural social work and education, while 21 others offer related Masters and Ph.D. programs, the ministry said Tuesday.
Students pursing such studies receive government-approved training on how to effectively teach Korean language to foreigners and help them transition into new and unfamiliar aspects of Korean culture, according to descriptions by the universities.
“Students at our Multicultural Korean Language Department focus on attaining licenses in either Korean education or multicultural social work certified by the Justice Ministry ― a second degree teaching certificate (in Korean) or a second degree certificate as a multicultural society expert,” an official from Konyang Cyber University told The Korea Herald.
“Graduates typically get involved in work dedicated to fostering a more stable and advanced multicultural society. Some go on to teach Korean to foreign immigrants while others work at regional multicultural or counseling centers that provide psychological aid to foreigners,” he added.
In a move to better promote multicultural understanding and boost existing support programs for foreign immigrants, the Justice Ministry currently provides aid to 20 universities ― so-called “Active Brain Towers” ― that are working to push forward multiculturalism and social integration.
The ministry also recently enacted a new set of regulations to better oversee and guide the different educational programs geared at nurturing the “multicultural society experts” in the country.
In effect since January, the regulations lay out key information to be covered in the courses as well as describe procedures to be followed during the on-site training period, among others.
The total number of foreigners residing in Korea, including short and long-term foreign residents, has been steadily rising since 2004, according to data by the Korea Immigration Service.
Though there were roughly 750,000 foreign residents in Korea as of 2004, figures quickly rose to 1.06 million in 2007, 1.26 million in 2010, and 1.57 million in 2013, according to the KIS.
Since last year, the number of foreign residents in Korea has increased by 13.2 percent to 1.77 million as of January 2015.
By Sohn Ji-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)