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S. Korea to open 14 more Korean language institutes

South Korea will open 14 more government-funded institutes offering Korean language courses in the second half of this year, the culture ministry said Monday in a bid to make them overseas bases for increasing the world’s awareness of Korean culture.

The rising popularity of Korean pop music known as K-pop, and TV dramas in other Asian countries, the Americas and Europe has attracted international interest in Korean culture, according to government officials. They say such an interest has led to rising demand for learning the Korean language.

The 14 locations newly designated to house King Sejong Institutes included Santiago, Chile; Venice, Italy; Auckland, New Zealand; Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Bogota, Colombia, the ministry said. Eight of the 14 locations will have the first Sejong Institute in their country, it added.

Named after the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) king who invented the hangeul script, King Sejong Institutes offer language education programs teaching Korean as a second language. Currently, there are 76 such institutes, with about half run directly by the government and the rest run by civilian organizations with support from the government.

With the new designation, the number of Sejong institutes will rise to 90 by the end of the year.

As part of efforts to improve the quality of the language education, the ministry said it will send 20 licensed Korean language teachers to Sejong Institutes in 11 countries, including Mongolia, Vietnam and Turkey, in the second half.

It would mark the first dispatch of licensed Korean language teachers to foreign countries, the ministry said. (Yonhap News)