Songdo to host three foreign universities

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Songdo to host three foreign universities

Korea will host three new international university campuses in Songdo, Incheon, in a significant move to attract top foreign educational institutions.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said that the State University of New York at Stony Brook will open a campus in 2011 that will offer graduate-level courses in computer science, information system engineering and technology management.

In the following year, Virginia-based George Mason University will conduct undergraduate classes in business management and economics. In 2013, Belgium’s Ghent University will offer undergraduate courses in biotechnology, environmental technology and food technology. Local graduates from all three universities will be awarded diplomas that will have the same status as those offered by the universities in their home countries.

Korea is hoping to copy the success of such Asian countries as Singapore in becoming a regional education hub for foreign-affiliated secondary schools and universities. “We hope to attract universities and create a cluster specializing in the education industry like that of Singapore, but it is too early to mention specific goals or our overall vision,” said a ministry official.

All three universities will be located in Songdo, which is located in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, with their presence seen as helping to attract foreign investment.

They will be located in the Songdo Global University Campus area, the first phase of which is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The government hopes to house as many as 10,000 students in the area.

Earlier agreements have already been signed with several U.S. universities, including North Carolina State University, Delaware State University and the University of Southern California, to start operations at Songdo in the next few years.

The ministry said it plans to attract more universities, including the University of Utah and the University of Illinois, to Korea’s free economic zones.The only foreign-affiliated higher education institution now operating in Korea is the local branch of the Netherlands Shipping and Transport College, which is located at the World Marine Center in Gwangyang, South Jeolla. Germany’s Friedrich-Alexander University plans to offer courses in Busan from next March.

The government is offering annual subsidies of up to 1.2 billion won ($1.04 million) for five years to universities that establish branches in Korea.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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