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Ethnographic Perspective

SEOGWIPO, South Korea is famous for its tangerine groves, pearly beaches and honeymoon resorts, South Korea is conducting a bold educational experiment by trying to brighten opportunity at home and attract investment from abroad.  By creating schools solely focusing on what is taught in American schools.

The first school, North London Collegiate, broke ground for its campus this month.  With combing leading Western schools, the government is hoping to address one of the usual points in South Korean society. Many parents want to send children abroad so they can learn English and avoid the pressure and little focus of the Korean educational system. The number of South Korean students from elementary school through high school who go abroad for education increased to 27,350 in 2008 from 1,840 in 1999, according to government data.  Many of the children who study abroad end up staying abroad.  Those who return usually have trouble finding jobs at Korean companies, getting their language fluency or adapting to the Korean way of doing business.

The student body will be recruited from families living in South Korea and China. In a 2008 survey by South Korea’s National Statistical Office, 48.3 percent of South Korean parents said they wanted to send their children abroad to “develop global perspectives,” avoid the straightforward domestic school system or learn English. More than 12 percent wanted it for their children as early as elementary school.

Some say that the Jeju schools with annual tuition fees of $17,000 to $25,800 and their English-language curriculum, aside from the Korean language and history classes for Korean students will create well worldly students.

Questions that could possibly be explored more:

–         Why is South Korea just starting this now?

–         What will the class size be?

–         How will they enforce this English only speaking town?

–         Will they only allow students from Korea and China?

–         Do they plan to expand out of South Korea?

–         What grades will be implicated?

–         Will the teachers also be selected from those spots or be brought form America?

–         What extra curricular activities will be offered?

–         What is English curriculum considered as?

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