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Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Department of Korean Studies in Pakistan

Hangul Tree by Ha-won Kim

This is one topic that I wanted to write about for quite some time. Today while looking for the options, available in Pakistan, for people interested in Korean Language - I stumbled upon this website of Department of Korean Language at National University of Modern Languages (NUML)in Islamabad, Pakistan. Now, to my surprise, this website was last updated in 2009. From the websites' Korean department history, I found out that in collaboration with Korea Foundation (국제교류재단) and The Embassy of Republic of Korea in Pakistan, Korean language department was established in July 2006. It's first head of the department was Prof.Kim, Myung-joon, an alumni of Korea University with his PhD in Korean literature. He was assisted by 2 Korean teachers and one Pakistani teacher at the time. NUML offers a summer program and regular 3 levels which they call:
- course (6 months)
- diploma (6 months)
- advanced diploma in Korean studies ( 1 year)

While looking into the activities of Korean language and literature, things are fast changing but one thing is for sure, maintenance of a proper website to help people connect to and get information about Korean Studies in Pakistan. Korea ranks on top in e-government in the world so at least, e-information must be readily available on Korean Studies and Korean language acquisition and development in Pakistan for the general public.

I would also like to know, is NUML working with the new initiative of funding/expending of programs within the Korean Studies discipline taken by the Korean government?? If so how and if not, why???

Here I would like to highlight India's Korean Language and Korean Studies program that started in June 1970 in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi with almost no facilities of learning Korean language to conduct in-depth research in the field until the Centre for East Asian Studies (CEAS), incorporated an elaborate curriculum of Korean Studies. Presently, the M.A. program of this center offers courses on the Korean Peninsula in International Affairs and the M.Phil program has courses on: Political & Economic Development, Modern History of Korea (1876- onwards), Korean Peninsula in International Affairs and lastly, the Korean language.
While studying in Korea, I have personally met a number of students from JNU doing exchanges in Korea for 6 months to one year ( where studies and living cost is fully covered by scholarships). Do we have any such thing in Pakistan yet or any time soon??

Another such university is the Delhi University (DU). Their Department of East Asian Studies (DEAS) was established in 2001. Presently, this department offers Certificate of Proficiency, Pre-degree Diploma, and Advance Diploma programs of study in the Korean language. Some courses pertaining to Korean history, culture and politics are offered for M.Phil and PhD students. They are aggressively working and planning to introduce an M.A. programme in Korean Studies in near future in DEAS.

Concluding Remarks:

How can we improve the Korean Studies in Pakistan? As mentioned, it is already 5 years that we have this program at NUML. I have hardly met any exchange students from the Department of Korean language at NUML in any major universities here in Korea.

Government of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) is aggressively working to globalize Korean studies in general and Korean language in particular and therefore, how is Pakistan responding to this very important field of study - where not just the support but the desire to enhance relations and foster long term ties depend on such educational exchanges.

Korea and Pakistan have progressively entered the 28th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries and there is a long way to go. Pakistani universities must focus on introducing Area Studies discipline and particularly a Korean Studies program - and with this, they can definitely learn a lot from the Korean experience in all the different spheres of excellence of Korea.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pakistan and Korea in 2006, when the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan vistied South Korea to foster ties through educational exchanges. What became of it? Science and Technology was covered and we have a strong student body at KAIST, SNU and a few other unversities but we must focus on other areas as well. Pakistan is the 10 biggest supplier of unskilled workers to Korea and many Pakistanies have settled in Korea, there is a need to foster relations through more and more educational exchanges between the two countries is the need of the hour!

1 comment:

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