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Overseas Sejong institutes to top 100 this year

July 4, 2013 - 20:10 By Korea Herald
The number of Korea’s government-funded overseas institutes that offer Korean language courses is expected to exceed 100 this year amid the global boom of Korean pop culture, officials said Thursday.

The government will open 27 more King Sejong Institutes in 20 countries across the world, increasing the number of the institutes to 117, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said.

Named after the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) king who invented the Korean alphabet Hangeul, the institutes offer language education programs teaching Korean as a second language. Currently, there are 90 such institutes in 44 countries, with about half run directly by the government and the rest run by civilian organizations with support from the government.

The rising popularity of Korean pop music known as “K-pop” and TV dramas in other Asian countries, the Americas and Europe has attracted international interest in Korean culture, according to government officials.

The ministry said it aims to increase the figure to 200 by 2017 to meet rising demand for learning the Korean language.

Thirteen of the newly designated institutes are located in Asia, followed by eight in Europe, four in the Middle East and two in the Americas, according to the ministry.

King Sejong Institutes will open for the first time in seven countries, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Belarus, it added. (Yonhap News)