NOV  2008  [ Vol. 17, No. 11 ] Home | Contact Us | Korean | KF Home   
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News Focus II
A Boost for Korean Language Education in Vietnam

New Korean Textbooks and Language Lab for Vietnamese Learners
Choi Hyeon-seon
Assistant Director, Korean Language Department
As part of its efforts to promote Korean language education, the Korea Foundation held a workshop for the utilization of Korean language textbooks developed specifically for Vietnamese university students as well as an opening ceremony of a Korean language lab at the University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University, Hanoi

To mark the 562nd anniversary of the creation of Hangeul, two meaningful events were held in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Hangeul Day (October 9). First, an opening ceremony was held to dedicate a new Korean language lab at the University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University (VNU), Hanoi, which included the attendance of Nguyen Hoa, President of VNU University of Foreign Languages; Oh Young-kook, Vice President, Overseas Business Group of Kookmin Bank; Hahn Young-Hee, Executive Vice President of the Korea Foundation; and Im Hong-jae, Korean Ambassador to Vietnam.
Second, later in the day, an informational workshop was conducted to introduce the use of “Comprehensive Korean Language Textbooks for Vietnamese,” at the International Conference Room, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU, Hanoi.
In recognition of the need and long-term value of promoting Korean language education abroad, Kookmin Bank (KB) and the Korea Foundation have joined hands for the implementation of support projects, under a theme of “KB Sharing Love for Hangeul,” since 2007. In particular, these efforts have contributed to the development of textbooks for more effective Korean language education in Vietnam, Mongolia and Indonesia, and the establishment of a Korean language lab at the University of Foreign Languages and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU, Hanoi.
The commemorative events, held on Hangeul Day, served to publicize the development of Korean language textbooks for Vietnamese learners and their donation to the universities with Korean language programs in Vietnam. Of note, the events were attended by the presidents and faculty members of the College of Foreign Languages and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the leading institutions of higher learning in Vietnam that have been at the forefront of efforts to promote Korean language instruction, since the establishment of Korea-Vietnam diplomatic relations in December 1992.
Through the cooperative endeavors of the two countries, the number of Korean language learners in Vietnam has seen a remarkable increase, which has far overwhelmed the capacity of the existing infrastructure. Accordingly, these two projects are timely and helpful for improving the current situation. The donated textbooks, which are being distributed primarily to the freshmen and sophomore students enrolled in Korean language programs, will serve to motivate and encourage more students of Korean and notably enhance their Korean language competency.

Localized Education
Above all, the recently published Korean language textbooks for Vietnamese are the first endeavor to be jointly developed by Korean and Vietnamese specialists of Korean language education. Designed for a course of 8-10 hours of instruction per week, over a 15-week semester, the textbooks are comprised of listening, speaking, reading, and writing sections, which can be taught in whole or separately, according to a particular curriculum, instructional method, or classroom situation. It is also worthy of note that the textbooks allow for flexible instruction.
Due to a previous lack of adequate Korean language textbooks in Vietnam, it was often the case that Vietnamese students would end up using illegal copies of the textbooks used by foreign students enrolled in language institutes affiliated with Korean universities. Therefore, the new Korean language textbooks, along with various visual aids and supplemental CDs, will enable local instructors to provide classroom instruction in a more effective and convenient manner. For example, Vietnamese instructors who are not confident of their Korean pronunciation can learn and teach their students proper pronunciation by listening to the CD recordings of native Korean speakers.

Korean Language Lab
In light of the limited opportunities for Korean language students in Vietnam to use Korean, other than in the classroom, a Korean language lab has been donated to the University of Foreign Languages, VNU, Hanoi, which has steadily produced Korean language translators and instructional faculty, who have helped to overcome the language barrier between Korea and Vietnam, in various sectors. Indeed, this facility will contribute significantly to further increasing the number of Korean language speakers in Vietnam, along with helping to enhance the quality of Korean language education.
The textbook development and new Korean language lab, through the joint efforts of Kookmin Bank and the Foundation, will help to noticeably reinforce the infrastructure for continued expansion of Korea’s cooperative relations with Vietnam, the largest trading partner of Korea in Southeast Asia. In addition, this growing pool of Korean language speakers in Vietnam will facilitate the promotion of more diverse bilateral exchanges and cooperation.
The development of Korean language textbooks for Vietnamese and the opening of the Korean language lab will serve as cornerstones for the promotion of Korean language education in Vietnam, as well as closer cooperative relations between Korea and Vietnam.

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