Send to

Amid high demand for Korean learning, 18 new King Sejong Institutes designated

June 24, 2024 - 14:45 By Park Ga-young
Culture Minister Yu In-chon (second from right) and King Sejong Institute Foundation President Lee Hai-young (right) view education materials of the King Sejong Institute at the foundation's headquarters in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, on April 12. (Culture Ministry)

Eighteen new King Sejong Institutes will officially open in 15 countries next year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and King Sejong Institute Foundation announced Monday.

With the new additions, Korean language and culture classes will now be offered at 256 locations in 88 countries worldwide.

This year, 97 institutions from 40 countries applied to be selected to host King Sejong Institutes, demonstrating enthusiasm for learning Korean and marking the highest competition ratio of 5.4 to 1 in the past five years. The King Sejong Institute Designation Review Committee, composed of experts in Korean language education and international cultural exchange, reviewed the applications over a four-month period.

Nepal, a country with increasing demand for Korean language learning due to the Employment Permit System which allows Nepalese nationals to work in Korea, previously had insufficient local learning conditions, the ministry said.

The EPS' E-9 visa allows citizens of 16 countries to work in Korea's manufacturing, shipbuilding, agriculture and livestock, fishing, construction, service, forestry and mining industries.

Cuba, which established diplomatic relations with South Korea in February, is anticipated to see various cultural and human exchanges after the first King Sejong Institute in Havana opens.

In addition to Nepal and Cuba, the Culture Ministry and the foundation decided to add one new institute each in Saudi Arabia, India, China, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Sweden, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Austria, and two each in Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Germany.

The first King Sejong Institute was established in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2007. At first, there were only 13 locations in 3 countries with an annual enrollment of 740 students.

In 2023, a total of 216,226 students studied Korean via online and in-person classes at King Sejong Institutes around the world, representing a 20.8 percent increase from 2022.

The 18 newly designated King Sejong Institutes will conduct a pilot operations for six months before starting official operations in 2025.

The Culture Ministry said it plans regularly to evaluate and inspect the operations of existing King Sejong Institutes in line with the increasing demand for Korean language learning. It will support improvement measures and close locations that are poorly managed or unlikely to operate normally, to ensure the institutes are operated effectively.

In August, the ministry and the foundation will release the “King Sejong Institute Innovation Plan” to strengthen the regional support and management system of King Sejong Institutes.