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More Students Choosing Foreign Language High Schools

Posted March. 08, 2007 06:42,   


Amid growing interests in special-purpose high schools, more students from middle schools in Gangnam, Nowon, Seocho, Songpa, and Yangcheon-gu (district) in Seoul are going to six foreign language high schools in Seoul. The number is growing year by year.

Also, Korea’s top four middle schools that send their graduates to special-purpose high schools are all located in Mok-dong, Yangcheon-gu.

This is the result of Dong-A Ilbo’s survey on 8,627 new students at six foreign language high schools in Seoul from 2004 to 2007.

Middle schools in Nowon-gu have sent 878 students, the highest number, to foreign language high schools for the last four years. Yangcheon-gu sent 676 students, Gangnam-gu sent 629, Songpa-gu sent 433, and Seocho-gu sent 313. Schools in the five districts produced 38.6 percent of all new students to foreign language high schools.

This year, students from Nowon-gu accounted for 2.36 percent of new students of foreign language high schools, followed by Gangnam-gu at 2.11 percent, Yangcheon-gu at 1.93 percent, Seocho-gu at 1.60 percent, and Songpa-gu at 1.20 percent.

As foreign language high schools in Gyeonggi Province are getting more popular, and admission dates were the same between schools in Seoul and Gyeonggi, the number of students from Gyeonggi Province going to schools in Seoul is decreasing by the year. The ratio decreased from 27.1 percent (579) in 2004 to 23.4 percent (504) the following year, and 20.5 percent (452) last year.

The number of middle schools which sent graduates to foreign language schools increased from 879 in 2004 to 931 in 2007.

Interest and enthusiasm for the schools are spreading throughout the country.

The top four middle schools which sent the most number of students to foreign language schools are Wolchon (137), Shinseo (116), Shinmok (104), and Mokil (101).

Last year, Wolchon sent 43 students to foreign language high schools, followed by Shinseo at 37, Shinmok at 31, and Mokil at 26. More than 20 students from each school chose Myung Duk foreign language school, which is nearby.

Among the top 10 schools that sent the most students to special-purpose high schools, five are in Mok-dong, four in Goyang City of Gyeonggi Province, and one in Nowon-gu. Schools in Gangnam-gu ranked 11th and 14th.

Schools in Yangcheon-gu and Nowon-gu were able to send many students because the private education environment improved and the enthusiasm for education there is comparable to that of the Gangnam region. Also, students from cities such as Goyang and Seongnam prefer schools in Seoul.

For the last four years, among the 629 students from Gangnam-gu who went to foreign language schools, 55 percent or 346 students chose Daewon Foreign Language School. In Nowon-gu, 52.7 percent chose Seoul Foreign Language High School and 28.4 percent chose Daeil Foreign Language High School.

Students in Gangdong-gu and Songpa-gu prefer Hanyoung Foreign Language School, Yangcheon-gu and Ilsan-gu Myung Duk Foreign Language School, and Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu Daewon Foreign Language School.

Taking into account that the quorum of foreign language high schools has not changed, schools in the five districts are sending more and more students to the schools, while those in other regions are sending less. The reason why the new students are concentrated in certain areas is that the competition among talented students raises the level of their academic achievement, talented students form network with each other, and many private institutions provide high-level private education.

Private institutions are concentrated in Gangnam-gu, Yangcheon-gu, and Nowon-gu, and apartment prices are soaring in these regions. More people choose to live in these regions, and a middle school in Mok-dong has 16 to 17 classes on average.

More students are favoring special-purpose high schools because a special admissions policy change for students from special schools will take effect starting in 2008. More students choose these areas to go to a prestigious university first and then advance to a law school or medical school.

“As there are various ways to go to medical and law school, foreign language high schools are getting more popular. Parents who used to be interested only in the Daewon Foreign Language School are now showing interest in other foreign language schools,” said Kim Seong-yeong, a 41-year old parent.