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Multicultural schools to open next March

Two alternative high schools for students from multicultural families will open in March to help them adjust to Korean society and find a job after high school, the Education Ministry said Tuesday.

One in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province and the other in Seoul will offer three-year programs on Korean language, society, culture and technical skills.

Three government agencies, the Education Ministry, the Labor Ministry and the Education Office of North Chungcheong Province, agreed Tuesday to implement and support the school program.

The Labor Ministry will be in charge of running the school and the Education Ministry and the local education office will provide administrative and financial support.

“The school is to help those who have trouble following the regular curriculum in Korea. Anyone who graduated from middle schools can apply for the school,” an education official said.

Multicultural children are usually born overseas but later come to Korea when one of their parents work in Korea or get married to a Korean.

Named after a word for “love” in Korean, the Daseom School in Jecheon will start to admit students from across the country in November. There will be nine classrooms and three separate departments at the school. But the school in Seoul will only accept students living in the capital.

The schools will offer free room and board, and full scholarships. Employment opportunities will be provided by the labor ministry to help them search for jobs after graduation.

Korea Polytechnics, a vocational training school, will provide technical training courses. Graduates will be as qualified as certified technicians, officials said.

The school is expected to take in those left out of the school system, which makes up about 30 percent of the children from multicultural families, the Education Ministry said.

“There are students who have difficulties overcoming cultural differences mostly due to language barrier,” explained an education official.

Most of the children come to Korea when they are over the age of 10, according to a state human rights agency. Most of the 186 children surveyed are 14-, 17- and 19-year-olds.

About 57 percent were attending regular schools in Korea, 22 percent alternative schools and 21 percent didn’t attend any school here. More than half of them were from Mongolia, with the rest coming from China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

And the figure shows they didn’t came here voluntarily as about 30 percent answered their parent wanted them to study in Korea and 27 percent said they just wanted to see their parent.

“We hope the Daseom School will be an opportunity to create a positive multicultural society here in Korea and include those who are left outside of the school system,” said an official.

By Lee Woo-young (