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Fewer multicultural students advancing to university

April 27, 2023 - 18:05 By Son Ji-hyoung

The percentage of children from multicultural families entering university has sharply fallen behind the total figure for all kids in South Korea, data showed Thursday.

As of 2021, 4 in 10 multicultural kids were admitted to higher education institutions, according to data suggested by the Prime Minister's Office. This showed a contrast from the nationwide general figure, as over 70 percent of Koreans advanced to higher education.

The gap between the figure for Koreans overall and that of multicultural families widened to 31 percentage points in 2021, compared to 18 percentage points in 2018.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo pledged to tackle the widening gap for multicultural children, primarily by augmenting basic Korean language classes and strengthening mentorship and vocational programs. Korean language classes will increase to 570 by 2024, up 30 percent from 2022.

This will be part of the five-year basic plan for multicultural families in Korea approved by the Multicultural Family Policy Committee meeting under the Prime Minister's Office.

"Fewer multicultural children tend to follow up on school curriculum," Han said Thursday in a speech at a meeting held at the Government Complex Seoul.

"(Seoul) will expand basic education programs to narrow the education achievement gap."

Han added that administrative support will be provided for some 30,000 spouses and children of multicultural families who leave Korea upon divorce or the death of a family member.

Korea is home to 1.12 million people categorized as being in a multicultural family. That number includes some 290,000 multicultural kids, with 60 percent of them eligible to attend either preschool, primary school or secondary school, aged between 7 and 18.

Those among them who have lived in Korea for more than 15 years accounted for 40 percent in 2021.