The government said Wednesday it will establish 16 new state-run King Sejong Institutes in 13 countries for foreigners wanting to learn Korean language and culture.
They were chosen among 56 applicants in 31 countries, mostly national or state universities with courses in the Korean language.
Three of the new institutes will open in Finland, Ecuador and Azerbaijan, countries where no King Sejong Institute exists.
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.
There are currently 171 such institutes in 54 countries, where a total of 49,549 students are learning the Korean language as of July 2017.
“We will do our best to help the institutes cement their position as evangelists of Korean language and culture while continuing to pursue their growth in quality,” said an official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in charge of policy on the institutes.
What is King Sejong Institute?
Sejonghakdang is a brand name that the South Korean government launched in order to comprehensively provide Korean language learners and teachers with an integrated study and information service. “Sejonghakdang” is expected to be developed as the brand for Korean-learning or -teaching Institutes around the world.
Sejong was the fourth King of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea who created the Korean alphabet in 1446 and Hakdang means educational institutes in Korean.