By HyunChon Kim
Translated by Michael Leshiak
Too Few Korean Classes Compared to Number of Students.
AP Foreign Language Test Include Japanese and Chinese, Exclude Korean.
Support for a Korean Language AP is growing across the United States.
In January, the Foundation For Korean Language & Culture announced the AP Korean Development Committee charged with expanding Korean Language classes to be taught in American high schools, and increasing the number of teachers. Also, they are appealing to Korean language schools and Korean community associations for help.
In January, the Foundation For Korean Language & Culture announced the AP Korean Development Committee, charged initially with developing curriculum standards and teacher requirements for four Korean Language classes to be taught in American high schools. Also, they are appealing to Korean language schools and Korean community associations for help.
In 2005, Moon Ay Ri, director of the AP Korean Development Committee, inquired to the College Board regarding the development of an AP exam for Korean. Their response was that least 500 high schools had to offer Korean classes at various levels, and a need for such an exam must be demonstrated by many universities.
According to the committee, currently only 55 middle and high schools in the United States offer Korean. One-tenth the required number.
However, Mrs. Moon said “compared to the 71 elementary, middle, and high schools offering Korean classes, the number of high school seniors taking the SAT Korean exam (4,600) is very high. She emphasized “this means that relative to the high number of students who want to learn Korean, there are very few classes available in schools.” The fact that there are many students taking the SAT Korean exam is an important factor towards the development of an AP exam.
Furthermore, the committee says it believe it will be possible for the College Board to revise its required 500 schools. This is because in 2007 and 2008 when the new AP Chinese and AP Japanese exams were implemented, the number of schools offering Chinese or Japanese classes were only 194 and 215 respectively.
The committee plans to persist in discussions with the College Board about the required number of schools offering Korean classes, and in the meantime will focus on expanding the number of Korean language teachers. To achieve this the committee is to host a Korean Language Teaching Certificate Seminar in California next month, and has plans to expand this program across the United States.
“In the case of California, it is so serious that there are not even 10 certified Korean language teachers,” stressed Mrs. Moon.
The Foundation For Korean Language & Culture intends to solve this by offering current middle and high school teachers in California, as well as students preparing to be teachers, a class to prepare them for Korean language teaching certification. They are also providing financial assistance for attendees.
The committee also emphasized the need for assistance from Korean schools and community associations. Their assertion is that while currently there are a number of Korean schools, these schools only offer class on weekends. Therefore, these schools must be diligent in reporting the actual number of students to the United States Board of Education.
Regular classes offered at public schools only partially reflect the demand for Korean language learning, and this needs to be emphasized. According to a report issued by the Korean Embassy in 2009, there are 960 Korean schools with 51,777 students, which shows the demand is hardly lagging Chinese or Japanese.