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00707012
2012.08
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KF Supports Publication of Korean Language Textbooks/Contents Tailored for Learners in Four Asian Countries

The Korea Foundation celebrated the completion of a five-year project to develop a series of Korean language textbooks for students in four Asian countries in a commemorative event held on July 3. The textbooks were compiled and published with designated donations from Kookmin Bank, targeting Korean language students in Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Vietnam, where the popularity of Korean pop culture has led to a boom in Korean language education. The six-phase project began in 2007, and was completed in May this year, with the publication of a final series for Kazakh students.


A Fresh Boost for Korean Wave

Professor Cho Hang-rok of Sangmyung University describes the joint project of the Korea Foundation and Kookmin Bank to develop Korean language textbooks for learners in four Asian countries at a commemorative ceremony marking on July 3. More than 100 scholars and educators from educational institutes that offer Korean language programs attended the event to mark the completion of the milestone project. Addressing the guests, Korea Foundation President Kim Woo-sang said: “This series is expected to greatly contribute not only to spreading enthusiasm in studying Korean but also to further promoting exchange and cooperation between Korea and the four Asian countries.”

You Ki-june, a lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, said in his congratulatory remarks that Korean businesses need to find more efficient ways to fulfill their social responsibility as Kookmin Bank did. “Korea has risen from an aid recipient to a donor country. Now, as a responsible member of the international community, Korea has to do its part. I would like to urge more business enterprises to engage in long-term activities, like this project, to contribute to society in systematic ways,” he said.

Since 2007, the Korea Foundation and Kookmin Bank have joined hands to develop the textbook series that are specifically designed to meet the needs and circumstances of the local instructors and students in the four target countries. In line with the growing popularity of Korean pop culture in recent years, demand for learning Korean has surged sharply among students in these countries.

In his report on the project, Sangmyung University Professor Cho Hang-rok, who led the content development, said: “To continue the momentum of the Korean Wave, efforts should be made to encourage potential learners to actually take up Korean language courses. Also, to effectively promote Korean language education abroad, textbooks need to be developed in a scientific and systematic way.” He went on to highlight a demographic shift in Korean language learners. In the past, foreigners generally learned Korean for academic or business purposes. But in recent years, with the soaring popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas abroad and the increase in exchanges with Korea, a broader scope of people are now motivated to learn Korean for a variety of reasons. To help them learn Korean in a more systematic and easier way, Korean and foreign language specialists put their heads together to produce the textbook series, Professor Cho explained.

Textbooks Tailored to Local Student Needs

Textbooks Tailored to Local Student NeedsThis timely project is evaluated to have contributed significantly to upgrading the quality of Korean language textbooks. Some 40 prominent Korean- language educators from Korea and the four concerned countries participated in the project. They made great efforts over the past five years, holding joint workshops to develop localized contents by applying the latest language education theoriesand comprehensively reflecting local students’ learning conditions, culture, recent trends of the Korean Wave, and other related aspects. In the past, due to a lack of textbooks suiting the needs of overseas learners, foreign institutes had to utilize the teaching materials developed for domestic use. As such, this new series is regarded to have opened a new chapter in the history of Korean language education for overseas students by overcoming the limitations of existing textbooks.

The series is comprised of six volumes ― two each for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels ― for each of the four editions. A total of 24,000 copies have been printed for free distribution to educational institutes offering Korean language instruction in the four Asian countries.

The project is also recognized for having established a new model of public-private cooperation for the overseas promotion of Korean culture. Similar initiatives will boost Korea’s efforts to enhance its image through international cooperation and exchange.

Textbooks Tailored to Local Student Needs

Moon Jae-seung
Korean Studies Department

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