Sunday, February 15, 2009

Education of North Korean defectors in Seoul

Kim Heung Kwang, 49, a former computer science teacher now living in Seoul said it was only by watching a television movie that he learned that a host should offer his guests a drink.

"Not only must I offer something to drink," he said, "but ask if they want coffee or tea and whether they want sugar or milk, and then how many spoonfuls."

To alleviate their confusion, a Newspaper in Education program to encourage young people to read was introduced a year ago at Setnet High School, an alternative school for North Korean defectors. There, they can ask an instructor to explain concepts they encounter in newspaper pages.

"What is business and sales?" asked Park Jeong Hyang, 18, during a Setnet class.

"Amateur? Is that something to do with sports?" asked Mah Gwang Hyuck, 23.

"Can you explain what marketing is again?" asked Kim Su Ryun, 18.

Especially troublesome are the loan words, mostly derived from English, used in almost every sentence, and South Korean words not used in the North. But perhaps even more difficult to understand is the media's role in South Korea.

[The Korea Herald]

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