Korea targets 200,000 international students

20 July, 2015

Korea’s Education Ministry has announced measures to attract 200,000 international students to its universities and colleges by 2023, more than double current levels of enrolment.


The ministry has announced preliminary plans to increase international student numbers on campuses, including helping institutions to create more English-taught degrees in science and engineering and allowing the creation of specific departments or majors dedicated to international students.

Other potential changes include making it easier for international students that are already in the country on Korean language programmes to transfer to higher education courses.

The government has also made 18.8 billion won (US$16.5 million) available this year to institutions outside the capital city of Seoul to help them attract more international students. The grants will be provided to schools or individual departments that demonstrate vision and specific plans.

Further specifics of the project are due to be unveiled in September.

However, a previously announced ‘Study Korea 2020’ plan to attract 200,000 students by 2020 has proved unsuccessful so far; the number of international students in the country has decreased three years in a row, according to ministry data, falling from a high of 89,537  in 2011 to 84,891 last year.

Korea is anticipating a decline in domestic enrolments due to its low birth rate, with the Ministry expecting college places to outnumber high school graduates by 2018, making international recruitment a more pressing concern.

Currently, international students only constitute two per cent of total tertiary enrolments, a ratio the government hopes to increase to five per cent by 2023.

“Getting more foreign talent has become more important,” said the ministry in a statement quoted in the Korea Herald. “We will continue to work hard to improve and promote the excellence of Korea’s higher education.”

Matthew Knott
News Editor



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