SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s culture ministry said Tuesday it will launch a metaverse version of the King Sejong Institute, a government-funded Korean language education brand, this year to help foreigners learn the language anytime and anywhere.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it will operate the service jointly with the King Sejong Institute Foundation, a subsidiary agency that manages language centers of the brand worldwide, as the global popularity of Korean music, dramas and films has driven demand for learning the language.
The Metaverse King Sejong Institute enables users to remotely take the course offered by the institute, where they can practice the Korean language while virtually experiencing the everyday lives of Koreans and their culture, according to the ministry.
The King Sejong Institute, which started in 2007 with just 13 language centers in three countries, had 244 centers in 84 countries as of the end of 2022.
Still, there were about 10,000 people worldwide waiting to enroll as of September, according to the ministry.
Ministry officials expect the platform will help lower the entry barriers for those wanting to learn the language.
The platform consists of “campus” and “village” sections where users can study and experience life in Korea.
Famous places in Seoul, such as the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul Station, the Han River Park and Gwangjang Market, can be found in the “village” space.
The two organizations ran the platform on a trial basis in November and December, during which a daily average of 480 people from 123 countries connected to the service to communicate in Korean.
The ministry plans to hold a ceremony to celebrate the formal launch of the service in Seoul on Tuesday afternoon.
“The metaverse service using the latest technology has expanded the opportunity for people around the world to learn Korean more easily,” Yoon Sung-cheon, the chief official in charge of the ministry’s culture-arts policies, was quoted as saying in a release.
He expected the new service will help increase the number of students who attend language centers of the King Sejong Institute from about 150,000 last year to 500,000 by 2027.