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Korea to expand incentives to draw foreign education institutions

The government said Wednesday that it will expand incentives to attract more foreign education institutions to Korea in an attempt to increase the nation’s competitiveness in global education business.

It plans to encourage international education institutions to come to Korea by easing restrictions, providing more incentives and subsidies and simplifying review processes. It also will seek to revise a related law to allow them to send their earnings back to their countries and apply the accounting standards of their country, according to officials.

“The government will attract more foreign education institutions in a bid to revitalize free economic zones and increase global competitiveness of higher education in the country. We will provide as much investment as possible in support of raising global leaders,” said officials.

According to the government initiative, review processes for foreign institutions which wish to establish their branches here will be simplified and shortened. Government subsidies to foreign institutions are also expected to increase from the current 9.2 billion won ($8.4 million) given for five years at maximum and provide the same amount of funds to all institutions.

The government ordered related ministries such as finance, education and knowledge economy to come up with detailed measures to attract and retain foreign institutions in Korea.

It will first focus on six free economic zones including Incheon Free Economic Zone, which has attracted a few foreign universities to Songdo aimed for becoming an educational hub in Northeast Asia, they said.

Singapore offers free rent for university sites as well as research fund plus $100 million incentives to foreign institutions. China also offers free rent for university sites as well as money for construction, according to officials.

By Lee Woo-young (