[Journalism Internship] More international schools on Jeju

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[Journalism Internship] More international schools on Jeju

Superintendent's plan may bring facilities but needs teachers
Noh You-hyun, an 11th grader at Korea International School Jeju (KISJ) Campus, has noticed significant changes in her school zone, known as the Global Education City (GEC). 
Kim Kwang-soo [YONHAP]

Kim Kwang-soo [YONHAP]

Stores, groceries, entertainment facilities, private academies and houses have all spiked in number after an- other international school joined the GEC, which is currently home to four international schools on Jeju Island.
Now that Jeju's new education chief is promising to build three more international schools in the neighbor- hood, Noh and many others in the com- munity are looking forward to even more development.  
"Looking at the long-term results, I think it's a good thing," said Noh. "More international schools means more students and teachers, resulting in a bigger community."  
She continued: "The bigger the community gets, the more convenient the environment becomes for citizens residing in the GEC."  
Located in the southern region of Jeju Island, the GEC was established to prevent Korean students from having to be sent abroad to study in their youth. Schools in the area, often dubbed Jeju's "English town," prepare students for foreign universities by providing U.S. or British school curricula, known as AP or IB programs.  
The four schools that currently make up the GEC are KISJ Campus, North London College School Jeju, Branksome Hall Asia and Saint Johns- bury Academy Jeju.  
The new Jeju superintendent, Kim Kwang-soo, who won the local elections on June 1, has pledged to follow through on a promise made by the Ministry of Education in 2007 to build a total of seven international schools in the GEC. The ministry, at the time, said all seven schools would be built by 2021.  
Han Do-kyung, a 9th grader at Saint Johnsbury Academy Jeju, said he was particularly looking forward to more stores and facilities.  
Convenience and entertainment facilities have become a crucial factor for many students in the GEC as most are transferring from urban areas where convenience stores and noraebang (singing rooms) are placed at every corner.  
"It was quite a challenge moving to the GEC because of the lack of convenience," said Han, who's originally from Busan.  
With Busan being the second largest city in Korea, Han said he definitely needed time to adjust when he moved to the quiet and rural GEC.  
"Maybe if GEC grows and it flourishes with stores and facilities, students will be able to adjust more quickly, allowing them to focus on their studies," Han continued.  
Apart from convenience and attracting more students and teachers, some residents said economic advantages could also be expected from having more international schools.  
An aerial view of the Global Education City on Jeju Island [YONHAP]

An aerial view of the Global Education City on Jeju Island [YONHAP]

"I believe that building more international schools in Jeju will help the country retain more Korean citizens, which would prevent people from spending enormous amounts of cash on tuition abroad," Ms. Lee, a parent of a KISJ student, said.  
But not everyone is pleased to hear Kim's pledge.  
"I am not opposed to the creation of more schools if students receive high- quality education comparable to the tuition they pay to the school," said Chris Chang, a private academy teacher in the GEC, "but in reality, there are many people who do not have the qualifications to teach, so I think that is a problem."  
Based on numerous interactions with students from all four international schools, Chang said he noticed a universal problem regarding teachers. He claims that international schools in the GEC are failing to recruit "qualified" teachers and that blindly increasing the number of international schools  
without resolving this issue would cause damage to the students.  
Erin Lee, a 9th grader at KISJ, dis- agrees with Chang.  
Lee believes that the problem regarding teachers Chang mentioned will naturally resolve once more inter- national schools enter the GEC.  
She believes that developing the community and creating a suitable environment for students and foreign teachers would attract more people, increasing the number of qualified teachers for schools to recruit.  
"Growing the community would definitely create a suitable environment for foreign teachers," said Lee. "Doubts and worries had by teachers thinking of taking the risk to move to a foreign country would decrease, so the number of qualified teachers would grow."

BY KANG HA-YOON, LIM YUN-SEO [hykang25@kis.ac yslim25@kis.ac]
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