A central organization overseeing the management and support of state-sponsored Korean language institutes all over the world kicked off operations with a ceremony Wednesday as the rising boom of Korean pop culture has raised world interest in Korean language and culture.
The King Sejong Institute Foundation will be mainly in charge of developing the curriculum and standard textbooks as well as training teachers at the headquarters of the language institutes, culture ministry officials said.
Attending the inauguration ceremony at the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul, were some 150 dignitaries, including Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik, and academic figures.
Named after the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) king who invented the Korean alphabet of Hangeul, King Sejong Institutes offer language education programs teaching Korean as a second language.
Starting with 16 such institutes in Mongolia and five other Asian countries in 2007, the number has risen to 90 in 43 countries all over the world. More than 17,000 students were learning Korean languages at Sejong institutes as of August, according to the ministry.
Some opposition lawmakers have criticized the government for its lack of full support and efforts to develop quality textbooks and train teachers for the institutes. (Yonhap)