Vietnam schools add Korean as foreign language amid strong investment

Thanh Nien News

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 A Samsung factory in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. Photo: T.Luan
With South Korea emerging as the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam, the government now wants to increase the number of Korean speakers here.
Under an agreement recently signed by the Vietnamese education ministry and the South Korean embassy, students at four select secondary schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can start choosing Korean as a foreign language, news website VnExpress reported on Tuesday.
From 2020, several high schools in the cities will join the trial program. After 2023, the language can be taught widely across all schools in Vietnam. 
Deputy Education Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien said in the website it is necessary to increase the number of Korean speakers in Vietnam, considering that South Korea has been its biggest investor and one of the major labor importers for many years.
Ambassador Jun Dae Joo said the number of Korean speakers in Vietnam has increased rapidly since 1993 to more than 100,000 at the moment.
Over 13,000 Vietnamese took part in the Test of Proficiency in Korean last year, twice the number in 2014 and the fourth largest in the world, according to the news website.
In Vietnam, Chinese, English, French and Russia languages are the official foreign language starting at the sixth grade. While schools are allowed to choose one or several of the languages, English has been the top choice.
South Korea topped foreign investors in Vietnam, with more than 4,940 projects worth of US$44.9 billion by the end of last year, according to official figures.

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