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South Kyongsang Province gov't to designate English-only department

South Kyongsang Province gov't to designate English-only department

Posted December. 27, 2000 09:58,   


An English-only department will be established at a local government agency next year. The government of South Kyongsang Province said Thursday that it would designate the Investment Attraction Department of the Economy & Trade Bureau as an English-only department and put it into operation on a trial basis beginning next year. In the department, workers will be required to use only English when they have conferences, draw up all their reports and other documents in English and even use the language in their everyday conversations.

A government official said that most of the 20 or so employees in the department are already able to speak English fluently. But to further improve their language skills, the government will give them financial assistance for English lessons at private institutes and also create some space for watching English-language news and films within the department.

As there are also some people who cannot speak English at all and would therefore have communication problems with other departments, critics say the department will have to draw up documents in both English and Korean and thus that it is a waste of labor.

It is also being pointed out that the measure may reduce the efficiency of some teams in the department, such as Asian and local teams, that have relatively few chances to use English.

Government officials said they selected the Investment Attraction Department for the trial program because it uses English frequently. After a certain period of time, the government will decide whether or not to expand the program to other departments.