[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.
Seoul International Youth Hostel