Korea leads the world in sending children to the US to study. In 2008, 27,349 young Korean students in elementary, middle and high school went abroad for study. Due to the global downturn, the number of children studying abroad declined slightly to 18,118 in 2009, but still the statistics show the boom in Korean parents' enthusiasm to send their kids overseas to study. But when parents do send their children overseas for a different education, social problems may also arise. Some fathers have committed suicide due to the financial difficulty of supporting two homes on one income, and some families become entangled in infidelity, divorce or legal battles over money.
To solve the problems associated with sending young students overseas for early education, and to fully meet the needs of parents and students, Jeju, Korea's southern-most island, is turning into the education hub of North Asia. The Korean government is building Jeju Global Education City on Jeju Island to offer the opportunity for better English-language education to middle-class families, and to absorb the demand for overseas-language courses. The goal is to provide a world-class quality education to students in a unique, immersive environment. In Jeju Global Education City, English will be the only language spoken at public offices, shopping centers and parks. It will include a settlement-type English-speaking town, which will be equipped with residences, commercial, leisure and convenience functions, as well as educational facilities.
Jeju Global Education City is opening two schools (one private and one public) for domestic and international students in September 2011, and plans to open another private school next year.
North London Collegiate School (NLCS) in the UK is the first school to set up a campus in Jeju Global Education City. Its Jeju campus, NLCS-Jeju, has a total on-campus capacity for 1,508 students. This year, the first year for the school, it will accept 772 students in total - 96 boys and girls for 5th grade, 88 for 7th grade, 60 each for 9th grade and 180 for the sixth-form foundation class. NLCS has repeatedly outperformed other prestigious IB schools in terms of Oxbridge success rates among its students.
Branksome Hall, one of the premier private schools in Canada, will follow NLCS next year after a groundbreaking ceremony on June 30, 2011. Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC), which is designing and implementing the project, is also in negotiations with prestigious schools in the U.S. Jeju Global Education City will eventually be home to prestigious private schools from the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Byon Jong-il, chairman of JDC, stressed that "With Jeju's pristine natural environment and its ambitious vision to be a free international city, Jeju Global Education City is the perfect place to take advantage of world-class educational programs without going abroad.
Jeju Global Education City will accommodate up to 9,000 students from kindergarten through to high-school level once all development plans are completed. The city will accommodate around 23,000 residents and 5,875 households.
Jeju Global Education City
¨ Project Overview
Jeju Global Education City, a Korean government-led national project, has been planned with a view to enhancing national competitiveness through the provision of global education via the medium of English. It is also intended as an education-based urban development project with focus directed primarily at the cultivation of Korean students of world-class ability.
As a settlement town where residential, commercial, recreational, and educational facilities are bought together, students will receive a high standard of education, providing them with world-class educational opportunities while eliminating the need to travel abroad.
In addition to twelve international schools, the city will have comprehensive facilities to complement English education, including an English education center which will be used for English teachers to practice and improve teaching methods; and a Education-Culture-Art Zone that benchmarks the Chautauqua Institution in New York City to provide continuing education programs in English all around year.
Location: Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Project area: 3,792 thousand sq. m
Development period: 2008-2015 (One public and one private school will open in Sept. 2011)
Main Development Group: Jeju Free International City Development Center (Government-sponsored organization, affiliated with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs)
Budget: USD 1.78 billion
Facilities: Schools, Colleges, English Education Center, Residential and Commercial Facilities, etc.