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Yongsan School to Admit More Koreans

Posted July. 05, 2006 03:20,   


International Christian School (ICS), an American Christian school, has been selected to run the Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS). YISS will commence in August in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, to improve the education environment for children of foreigners living in Korea.

The Korea Foreign Schools Foundation (president: Sohn Kyung-shik, the chairman of the KCCI) signed a final agreement with YISS on July 4. The 7,000-pyeong school will consist of students from kindergarten to high school and be run based on the American school system.

The international school will admit 520 students this year and increase the number to 1,000 in phases by 2010. ICS will be integrated into YISS.

Up to 30 percent of spots will be open to Korean nationals who lived in a foreign nation for at least five years. The figure is three times bigger than that of other international schools in Korea (about 10 percent according to the statistics of the Ministry of Education).

Cheon Se-jin, PR director of the ICS, said, “We decided to increase the share of spots allowed for Koreans from the current 18 percent (of the ICS) because the government provided financing and land for this school and many Koreans want to send their children to it.”

Kim Sang-yeol, the president of the KICC, said, “ICS agreed to donate five million dollars (about 4.74 billion won) it has accumulated to the foundation.”

It cost 3.5 billion won to construct YISS. One billion won came from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, and 2.5 billion won came from the foundation. Seoul city government lent the land to the school for free.

Kim said, “Like other international schools, we will admit qualified students who donate money. As we are concerned that there might be a controversy over admission of children from rich Korean families, we will adopt fair admission procedures and standards.”

The process of choosing a school to run YISS was not easy. After the negotiations failed with the BISS, a British international school and preferred bidder, the EUCCK withdrew from the post of director of the foundation and 23 ambassadors to Korea from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East sent written protests to the Korean government.

AMCHAM said in its statement that it is grateful to the Korean government for the support and efforts to provide quality education facilities and believes the selected school will develop into the best international school in Korea.

Min-Young Kwak Jae-Dong Yu havefun@donga.com jarrett@donga.com