23 King Sejong Institutes to Newly Open in 19 countries
Date Jun 20, 2022
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (Minister PARK Bo Gyoon, MCST) and the King Sejong Institute Foundation (President LEE Haiyoung, KSIF) announced on June 16 (Thur) that 23 newly designated King Sejong Institutes in 19 countries will open for its operation. As of 2022, the new designation brings the total number of KSIs to 244 in 84 countries, reaching a total of 580,000 students from 2007. The KSI aims to help non-Koreans learn the Korean language and culture in accordance with Articles 19 and 19-2 of the 「Framework Act on Korean Language」.
In particular, this year, after taking into account the global K-culture craze and the increase in trade with Korea, seven KSIs will open their doors in seven countries: three countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait), two countries in Africa (South Africa, Tunisia), and two countries in Europe (Luxembourg, Finland). Among those, Bangladesh is a country with a high demand for employment in Korea, with approximately 2,000 workers entering Korea every year. In addition, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the countries where the first KSI designations were put in place, reflecting high aspirations of those that run Korean-learning programs in their respective countries, along with the expanded spread of Korean culture in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Vietnam, where the demand for employment and study abroad in Korea continue to increase, illustrated by the growing popularity of Korean cultural content and the advancement of many Korean companies to these countries, five additional KSIs have been newly designated for operation, three in Indonesia and two in Vietnam.
The first KSI is slated to open in Korea as well. A KSI in Seoul, in cooperation with the National Center for the Rights of the Child (NCRC), within the Ministry of Health & Welfare (MOHW) plans to help those adopted overseas, yet reside in Korea, learn Korean language and culture in a structured manner.
The designations for new KSIs came as a result of 82 institutions from 39 countries filing applications to be newly designated KSIs. The KSI Designation Review Committee, made up of related experts, reviewed the candidates in its screening process over a period of four months. Based on the local Korean language learning demand and the requirements of resources for the operating institution, those with qualified capabilities and conditions were designated as KSIs. In 2007, when it was first opened in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, there were only 13 KSIs with 740 students annually in three countries around the world. Fifteen years later, KSIs have increased roughly 19 times to 244 locations in 84 countries, and the number of students have annually jumped by 110 times to 81,476 students as of 2021. From 2007 to 2021, the cumulative number of students reached 584,174.
Over the past 15 years, students from all walks of life have achieved their Korean aspirations, demonstrating that KSIs are where dreams come true in Korean. For example, Tyler Rasch, who studied Korean at the KSI in the Korean Cultural Center (USA), is actively working as a broadcaster in Korea, and Nancy Castro, a graduate of the KSI in the Korean Cultural Center (Mexico), is the first non-Korean to major in Gyeonggi folk music at the Korea National University of Arts. Tyler Rasch, highlighted the benefits of KSIs, as “a place where you learn not just the Korean language, but also Korean culture while trying to make gimbap, for instance”. Castro said "KSI and Korean folk music have changed my life," expressing her affection toward Korea and its language. Some people have found their calling thanks to KSIs. Ilona Zadachyna, who is teaching Korean online at the KSI in Ukraine, at the moment, due to the ongoing conflict, said, “I hope there will be peace soon so I can meet my students again in person,” expressing her hope for the future.