"Despite the prolonged economic downturn, many parents are sending their children abroad or moving to other countries," said a spokesperson at the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, adding, "Many students are choosing to go to the United States, Canada and China."
Meanwhile, the popularity of learning English in Korea has been immortalised on film in Please Teach Me English, a comedy by Kim Seong-Su. The film was released in Korea in 2003, and released in other Asian countries in April this year. It is reported that Seong-Su said that he made the film, which has English subtitles, as his personal revenge on English language learning, which he spent a lot of time and money on and failed to master.
Italy protects its language
The National Research Council (CNR) in Italy is to embark upon a strategy to boost interest in the Italian language and safeguard its future. Up to e1.5 million (US$1.9 million) will be spent on financing projects to boost international interest in Italian, and a special Italian cultural identity department is to be set up, according to press reports.
"The CNR is committed to the task of conserving and promoting the Italian linguistic and cultural identity," said Roberto de Mattei, Vice President of CNR. His announcement came just days after the European Commission (EC) revealed it was to drop Italian from its core official languages. Documents are now only translated into English, French and German.
500 Chinese students lose out in Paris
Up to 500 Chinese students arrived at their school in Paris earlier this year to find themselves locked out, as the owner had been detained by the French authorities on suspicion of falsifying legal documents to secure visas.
This is the latest in many stories surrounding Chinese students using duplicitous means to enter or study in a country. Sometimes, they may be unwitting pawns in the affair, as suggested by Cen Jianjun, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation and Exchange Department at the Chinese Ministry of Education in China.
He told the China Daily, "In their craze for an overseas education, [students and parents] tend to bypass the necessary verification process, thus leaving the ground fertile for chicanery. Some overseas institutions with dubious qualifications and some China-based agents will do anything to make a quick buck."
The stranded students, enrolled at Comme un Chinois a Paris, were all expected to be accepted elsewhere after the intervention of the Chinese Embassy in Paris, according to news reports. The Ministry of Education has posted a warning on its website in China.
Malta accused of aiding illegal immigration
Malta is the latest country to have become embroiled in allegations that illegal immigrants are using its student visa system to gain access to Europe. Concerns are being voiced by the Italian authorities, which believe that in one case, suspect English language students then travelled from Malta to Sicily in an attempt to get into Italy.
Earlier this year, 15 illegal immigrants all from China and Mongolia were forced to jump into the sea 15 miles from Sicily because of concerns that Italian marine police would catch them. Their speedboat reportedly departed from Malta. Six of the group were saved, while six died and three others have not been found.
But according to the Sunday Times of Malta, the details of the survivors did not correspond to immigration records held by police in Malta.
Maltese language school association, Feltom, said it believed that the overwhelming majority of English language students in the country were genuine, adding that it would be in favour of stricter, clearer visa procedures for inbound English language students.