[lg policy] Koreans Flock to the Philippines to Learn English

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 16 19:24:29 UTC 2009

Koreans Flock to the Philippines to Learn English

via edling-list

By Jonathan M. Hicap
Korea Times Correspondent

MANILA -- They come in their thousands every month, eager to learn what
is considered as the language of some 1.8 billion people worldwide.
For South Korean students, the Philippines is now a haven as far as
learning the English language is concerned.  The last five years saw
the phenomenal rise of the Philippines as the prime source of English
education for South Koreans.  Whether they come to the Philippines to
study English or sit in front of their computers at home in Seoul and
learn the correct pronunciation of English words from a teacher in
Manila, South Koreans are bent on learning English as a second
language as part of the globalization plan implemented by the

English education has been included in the curriculum of the South
Korean education system from elementary level to college. President
Lee Myung-bak, for instance, has made the teaching of the English
language a core program of his administration.  The English education
explosion in the Philippines among South Koreans was a product of
ideal factors that fit together. The Philippines -- ranked in the top
10 in terms of English-speaking population - has affordable education.
This is coupled with its strategic distance from South Korea: Manila
can be reached by plane in just four hours from Seoul. In addition,
the Philippines has a low cost of living, making it an appealing place
for South Korean students to stay and live. Throw in the allure of its
white-sand beaches and tropical weather and you'll have a formula to
make it a favored travel destination.

Today, hundreds of schools throughout the Philippines offer English as
a Second Language (ESL) courses for foreigners, but South Koreans
stand out as the leading group that comprises the majority of the ESL
market in the Philippines. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration,
headed by Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, is the leading agency that
issues permits to foreign students who want to study in the country.
Foreigners who want to enroll in Philippine schools are required to
get either the Special Study Permit (SSP) or a Student Visa. SSPs are
granted to students who want to enroll on short-term courses that last
for less than one year while student visas are for those who want to
take up long-term or degree courses.

Based on data provided to The Korea Times by the bureau's student desk
division -- headed by Teodulo Estrada, chief, and Adela Camtal,
assistant chief -- South Koreans who were issued Special Study Permits
increased by 500 percent from 2004 to 2008. In 2004, the data showed
5,877 South Koreans were given SSPs in the Philippines. The figure
increased three-fold to 17,904 in 2005.  The numbers continued to
increase over the next three years. In 2006, 21,876 Koreans obtained
SSPs while 27,322 got the permits in 2007. Last year, 29,155 Koreans
were granted permission to study short-term courses in the country.

In total, 102,134 South Koreans studied in the Philippines from 2004
to 2008 -- or an average of 20,427 students per year, or 1,702
students per month. In addition, 13,937 South Koreans were granted
student visas from 2004 to 2008. The visa allowed them to study degree
courses in the Philippines. In the last five years, South Koreans
became the largest group of foreigners to study in the Philippines.
The numbers continue to rise as more schools offer ESL courses. De La
Salle University, one of the Philippines' top universities, is one of
the schools accredited by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration as an
English-language learning center for foreigners.

The university's Manila campus has the Center for Language Learning
(CeLL) that provides year-round short English courses. The length of
each is three weeks, ranging from basic grammar to conversational



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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