The education ministry said Thursday it will reinforce Korean language and vocational training for thousands of young North Korean defectors studying in local schools.
A total of 2,517 North Korean defectors were registered with elementary, middle and high schools nationwide as of April last year, according to the Ministry of Education. The number has increased dramatically from 1,417 tallied in 2010.
Hangyeore Middle and High School, a government-funded secondary school for North Korean defectors, in Anseong, south of Seoul. (Hangyeore)
In this year's education plan for students from the North, the ministry said it will reinforce Korean language education, as about 52 percent of them were born in third-party countries such as China.
The government has allocated teachers who are bilingual in Korean and Chinese to special schools for defectors.
In an effort to help them better stabilize in society, the ministry will expand vocational training programs in various fields, such as welding and car maintenance.
"We expect these students to grow into outstanding figures in all walks of life and serve the role of connecting the two Koreas in the unification era," Education Minister Lee Joon-sik said. (Yonhap)