SUWON, May 30 (Korea Bizwire) – Gyeonggi Province’s ‘English Villages’ are closing down after 12 years of operation. Instead, they will be redeveloped into talent-training institutes, offering various educational programs that are more future-oriented.
An English Village was first established in 2004 in Ansan in an effort to create an environment that would offer professional English education. The province later established villages in Paju (2006) and Yangpyeong (2008), investing 99 billion and 67.6 billion won, respectively.
The villages soon became popular among Korean parents who couldn’t afford to provide their children with actual overseas experience. And with their rising popularity, similar types villages and institutions arose across the country.
However, increased competition, relatively high prices, and questions as to their actual effectiveness in English learning contributed to their eventual decline in popularity. In addition, the widespread proliferation of private English academies and tutoring eventually pushed the Gyeonggi English Villages to suffer managerial and financial difficulties.
The province eventually took the decision to rebrand its Paju and Yangpyeong operations as training centers for creative talent that may be more suitable in a rapidly changing modern society.
Gyeonggi Province is coordinating with multiple organizations and agencies such as the Ministry of Education, the Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity, and the Software Policy & Research Institute.
The new institutes will encompass a variety of educational programs.
One of the programs is called ‘Gokuro Gyosil’, which translates into ‘backwards class’. The class discards the traditional cram teaching methods, and instead focuses more on student-engaging activities such as debates, on topics that students prepare beforehand.
Other programs include innovative problem solving, classes that emphasize imagination and creativity, and software workshops.
“There are concerns that the current educational system has limitations in preparing our students for the coming future,” said Nam Kyung-pil, the Gyeonggi Province governor. “Gyeonggi Province plans to be the first to establish a more future-compatible educational system.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)