[Letter to the Editor]Regretful retreat on English

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[Letter to the Editor]Regretful retreat on English


South Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So-yeon, and South Korea’s first United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, shared one qualification for their jobs: both are fluent in English.

Ban received an honorary doctorate in international relations from his alma mater, Seoul National University. Yet it is a sad commentary that the South Korean government eased English standards in MBA programs nationwide on the very day of the hero’s homecoming, and a short time after another such return to Earth.

There is a single foreign faculty member, on average, in a secure position at each of the twenty-odd national universities in Korea. Obviously, since about a third of them are ladder-rank at SNU, there are national universities without a single native speaker of English among the more highly-paid employees.

Ban also met with President Lee Myung-bak. Ban’s support for Lee’s English immersion program would help to bring back the day South Korea’s exports exceeded imports, and the nation had a future.

Richard Thompson,

Seoul International Youth Hostel
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