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Showing a New Vision of Global Education
JDC plans to make Jeju Global Education City, a center of excellence for English education
Showing a New Vision of Global Education
  • By matthew
  • November 15, 2009, 00:00
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Jeju Global Education City, a major project of the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC), is a national project of the Korean Government to enhance Korea’s competitiveness by providing Korean and foreign students with excellent educational programs and systems. The beautiful southern city of Seogwipo on Jeju Island is home to the Jeju Global Education City. In this zone, English is the official language.

The city will also serve as an education- focused urban development project. This project will bring together residential, commercial, recreational, and educational facilities, making the need to travel abroad unnecessary for Korean students by providing world-class English-language educational opportunities on site.

Situated in the center of Northeast Asia, Jeju Island is within two hours flying time of more than 18 major cities, each with a population of five million or more. Jeju Global Education City is committed to meeting the individual interests and abilities of its students, and to helping them develop the tools to think independently, creatively and with a sense of responsibility toward others.

Jeju Free international City Development Center (JDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Branksome Hall, to conduct a preliminary feasibility study for establishing a campus in Jeju Global Education City. Branksome Hall is one of Canada’s premier private schools and was founded in 1903.

In addition to Branksome Hall, JDC signed a similar MOU with UK-based North London Collegiate School last spring. U.S. schools such as St. Alban’s and St. George’s plan to move forward in pursuing partnerships with JDC. By attracting such prestigious private schools from the U.S., U.K. and Canada schools, Jeju will become a premier hub for education in Northeast Asia.

Increasingly, more and more Korean students are leaving Korea for English-speaking countries to study English. Despite the number of outbound Korean students and the US$16 billion spent on private education for learning English, there have been no significant signs of improvement, while related social issues are worsening.

The Korean Government announced the Jeju Global Education City development plan as a government-funded project for a fundamental solution to these issues. “We expect Branksome Hall’s campus in Jeju to draw Korean students who plan to study in Canada, as well as students living in Northeast Asia, to the island,” said Byon Jong-il, CEO of JDC.

“JDC is also looking forward to signing Memorandums of Understanding with U.S. schools, St. Alban’s and St. George’s soon,” Byon continued. He added, “To bring these premier schools to Jeju, we have established a close partnership with the Jeju Special Self- Governing Province. So I expect to see tangible results soon. Good progress has been achieved with the enthusiastic support of the people of Jeju as well as the concerted efforts of relevant authorities, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Jeju Provincial Office and Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education. We will do everything possible to produce satisfactory results.”

A Korean father whose surname is Lee has his first child in the 2nd year of elementary school. He expressed great interest in the Jeju Global Education City. Lee said that he is following Jeju Global Education City’s development closely. He has been thinking about sending his son to the U.S. or Canada for better educational opportunities, but as a father, he would prefer to send his son to school in Jeju if he is eligible to apply. He also mentioned that the expected tuition of US$11,000 ~ US$13,000 is affordable, compared to the amount he would spend at a private institute (Hakwon) and other private tutoring.

Jeju Global Education City plans to open three schools for domestic and international students by 2011. By 2015, 12 new elementary, middle and high schools will be built and opened in the region. This project marks the first time that international schools in Korea will be permitted to admit 100% domestic students. In addition to the 12 international schools, the project will include an English education center for English teachers and an education, art and cultural complex, providing continuing education programs in English all year round.