“In this sense, there may be a certain decrease in international enrollments in subjects such as science and technology compared to humanities and humanities,” says the South Korean Ambassador His Excellency Shin Bong-kil. The ongoing pandemic has also led to innovation and strengthened the role of technology in improving access to international education for global students, he added. “It is said that innovation and creativity often thrive in a crisis. COVID-19 has led educational institutions to innovate in their own way to adapt to the new situation. This has led to the online teaching model. This enables students to take international educational courses from their home country without having to travel abroad. That way, students with modest resources who can’t afford the cost of studying abroad on campus can participate in international education, ”Shin Bong-kil told the Education Times.
India-South Korea relations
Despite the pandemic, Korea and India have managed to minimize the adverse impact on bilateral cooperation in higher education. This year, the Korean government granted around 50 Indian students a scholarship to take part in master’s and doctoral programs (excluding the bachelor’s program) (up from 17 last year). “The embassy took particular care to issue visas to all successful candidates in good time. Thanks to these efforts, around 40 Indian students came to Korea in August this year to begin their studies. Very few students gave up their scholarship due to COVID-19 and only three students requested to postpone their departure as their final exams for the bachelor’s degree were delayed, ”added the ambassador.
Effects of travel restrictions
South Korea does not see travel restrictions as a major hurdle. “It is a temporary measure to combat COVID and is gradually being relaxed. Although the scheduled flights between the two countries have been discontinued with immediate effect, we have been offering special flights since April. A total of 23 special flights made it easier for Indian students to travel, ”he adds. Both countries are currently negotiating a bubble agreement. Once this agreement is concluded, both India and Korea will be able to operate round-trip flights with some restrictions.
The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has paved the way for the 100 largest overseas universities to settle in India. He believes that Korean universities such as SNU, KAIST, Korea University, POSTECH, Yonsei University and Sungkyunwan University will set up their locations in India. Renowned Indian universities can also open their locations in Korea and promote educational cooperation between the two countries. With the addition of the Korean language as one of the foreign languages in secondary education, the government is ready to support Korean language teaching in India. To this end, a Korean education center will be set up in Delhi sometime next year. In addition, discussions are being held with the Ministry of Education to start a joint education program to train the Indians to teach the Korean language in schools.
Given that the demand for Korean teachers in India will increase, the Korean Cultural Center has already launched an online language teacher course. Students learning the Korean language can hope for a bright future. There are more than 700 Korean companies doing business in India, the ambassador says.
“Indian students learning the language have a better chance of finding employment in Korean companies. In addition, there is an opportunity for Indians who speak the language to join Korean multinationals in other countries in leadership positions, ”he adds.
During these troubled times, the main role of universities is to ensure the health and safety of students. To this end, almost all Korean universities have introduced online learning as a new mantra and have plans and systems in place so that students do not lose a full academic year. In order to provide a safe learning environment for all international students, the Korean government and the Korean government universities offer free COIVD tests, treatments, self-quarantine requirements, routine disinfection, etc.