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  Republic of Korea

Public sector primary schools

Is EYL taught as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary schools? Yes
When was it introduced? March 1997
At what age do students begin EYL? 8/9 (Grade 3).
Since March 1997, English has been introduced as follows:
1997 - Grade 3 only
1998 - Grades 3 and 4
1999 - Grades 3, 4 and 5
2000 - Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980? Apart from the 1997 change, no, but the teaching hours have been changed
Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL? No
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL? 2 lessons per week of 40 minutes each for all grades. There are 34 teaching weeks per year, so 68 lessons in total. However reductions for Grades 3 and 4 are planned from 2001, to 34 lessons per year.
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system? The number of EYL teachers is one of the most uncertain subjects in EYL, as it has been consistently changed since English was first implemented.
The total number of primary teachers of all types is 137,912.
Number of students: 3,800,540.
(Figures based on the Ministry of Education statistics of 1996)
Who does the EYL teaching? • Normal class teachers with and without in-service training
• English specialised teachers who have taken a general/advanced in-service teacher training programme or a general/advanced pre-service teacher training programme
• Secondary teachers of English who have graduated in an English-related subject or are qualified to teach English to secondary students and have taken a special teacher training programme that has been designed to train those graduates for primary English teaching
• Native speakers who are educated/qualified to teach English to children
(The Ministry of Education planned to allocate specialised teachers of English to all primary schools by 2000, but a wide variety of teachers in the categories above are working in primary schools)
Who is eligible to teach EYL in the public education system? Those listed above
Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough eligible EYL teachers?  Theoretically there are enough teachers since normal class teachers are eligible to teach EYL. However there are not enough trained and qualified teachers. There is a shortage of primary teachers in Korea in general, and this is one reason why secondary teachers of English have been allocated to teach English to primary students, after they complete a teacher training programme
What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching? A detailed specification of content with word lists, structure lists and sentences to be included in the teaching
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved? In 1999 there were 16 different textbooks locally produced for Korean primary students and approved by the Ministry of Education. All of them are published with teacher's guidebook and video tapes of teachers and cassette tapes for students, and the teachers must choose and use one of them in their teaching.
What materials are typically used? An approved textbook as above, but teachers may use any other supplementary materials
What other foreign languages are taught at primary level? None
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated? A new curriculum is to be implemented, with several key points of change:

• The 7th National Curriculum for English announced in 1997 will be introduced from 2000 by year – 2000 for the 1st and 2nd grade, 2001 for the 3rd and 4th grade, and from 2002 in the 5th and 6th grade.
• All English teachers in primary schools will be replaced by qualified and trained teachers who will only teach English as a subject in primary school.
• There will be only one national textbook to be used from 2001 in primary schools.
• The teaching hours for 3rd and 4th grade students will be reduced to 40 minutes x 34 lessons/year, while 5th and 6th grade students will continue to have 68 lessons/year.
• The content of teaching is to be reduced by up to 30%, and more flexible numbers of vocabulary items and 2 levels of teaching (depending on students' development, general and advanced level) have been suggested.

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Not stated
What percentage of primary age children attends them? Not stated
What differences in EYL provision exist from public sector primary schools? Not stated
What materials do they use for EYL? Not stated

Private language schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Yes
How many Young Learners take private language school classes? Research reported that by 1995 more than 90% of primary pupils were learning English in some ways – not only in private language schools but through TV programmes and self-help materials
How many hours of English do they typically offer? Not stated
Is there any perceived conflict between public school and private language school provision in EYL? Not stated
What materials do they use for EYL?  Not stated

Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children? Yes
How many Young Learners are involved? A large percentage (see above)
What is the typical starting age for private tuition? Not stated
Why do parents use private tutors?  There is a strong tendency for them to believe that the younger they start, the better development and attainment.

Date information collected: 1999

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