Jeju Free international City Development center (JDC) announced that on October 12 it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Branksome Hall to conduct a preliminary feasibility study for establishing a campus in Jeju Global Education City. Branksome Hall is one of the premier private schools located in Rosedale, Toronto, Canada, and founded in 1903.
If UK-based North London Collegiate School, which signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding last spring, and U.S. schools St. Alban's and St. George's, which are moving forward in pursuing partnerships with JDC, achieve a presence in the Jeju Global Education City along with Branksome Hall, Jeju will become a premier hub for education in Northeast Asia, an unprecedented destination that will be the home to prestigious private schools from the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
The number of Korean students studying English in the U.S. sharply increased to 127,100 in 2008, the most in the world since 2006. Despite the number of outbound Korean students and the US$16 billion spent on private education for learning English, however, there have been no significant signs of improvement while related social issues are worsening.
The government of the Republic of Korea announced the Jeju Global Education City development plan as a government-funded project for a fundamental solution to these issues. Mr. Byon Jong-Il (CEO of JDC) said, "We expect that Branksome Hall's campus in Jeju would draw Korean students who plan to study in Canada, as well as students living in Northeast Asia, to the island". He added: "JDC also looks forward to signing Memorandums of Understanding with U.S. schools St. Alban's and St. George's soon. To attract those premier schools to Jeju, we have established a close partnership with Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. So I expect to see tangible results before long. Good progress has been achieved with the enthusiastic support of Jeju islanders as well as the concerted efforts of relevant authorities, including the Prime Minister's Office, Jeju Provincial Office and Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education. We will do everything possible to produce satisfactory results".
Mr. Lee (42) of Korea, whose first child is in the 2nd year of elementary school expressed great interest in Jeju Global Education City. He said that he is following Jeju Global Education City's development closely. He has been thinking about sending his son to the U.S. or Canada for a better educational opportunity, but as a father, he would want to send his son to school in Jeju if he is eligible to apply. He also mentioned that the expected tuition of US$11,000 ~US$13,000 is affordable, compared to the additional amount he would spend for a private institute (Hakwon) and other private tutoring.
Jeju Global Education City plans to open three schools for domestic and international students by 2011 and 12 new elementary, middle and high schools will be constructed by 2015. This project marks the first time that international schools in Korea will be permitted to admit domestic students up to 100% of their enrollment. In addition to the 12 international schools, the project will include an English education center for English teachers and an education, art and cultural complex, providing continuing education programs in English all year round. English will be used in all residential areas as well as the shops and government offices in Jeju Global Education City.