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Around 34 Students Leave Korea Every Day

Posted March. 29, 2005 23:13,   


Despite the protracted economic recession, the number of Seoul students leaving Korea to study abroad in 2004 reached an all time high.

In particular, the number of students who left, excluding those who went overseas because of their parents’ jobs or their family’s emigration, increased 33.9 percent from the previous year to 5,928.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on March 29, the number of students in elementary, middle and high school who went abroad to study, including those who left for emigration or their parents’ jobs from March of last year to February of this year stood at 12,317, an increase of 6.7 percent from 11,546 in 2003.

In other words, an average of 34 students are leaving Korea from Seoul every day.

Excluding emigration and other reasons, students leaving purely to study abroad amounted to 2,160 in elementary school, 2,144 in middle school, and 1,624 in high school, showing an increase of 38.6 percent, 25.8 percent and 39.4 percent, respectively.

In terms of destination, students going to Australia and New Zealand fell from 1,357 in 2003 to 1,050, while those going to China and Southeast Asian nations increased significantly from 2,016 to 2,620.

School inspector Lee Eun-sook of the Middle and High School Education Division at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education stated, “Though the preference for the U.S. and Canada is still strong, more students are going to Southeast Asian nations such as China or Singapore after the economy fell into recession.”

Under the current provisions on studying abroad, even those leaving at their own expense have to undergo a qualification evaluation from the regional education superintendent or the head of the National Institute for International Education Development. However, most students are leaving without undergoing this process.

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com