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A Study on the Current Development and Influence Factors of Chinese-related Department in the Universities in the Republic of Korea
Chinese Departments in Republic of South Korea
In terms of geography, humanity, and history, Republic of South Korea and China are deeply connected. The “Chinese Department” in Korean higher education since early days back in 1945 inclined to literature and language, but such subject has developed into diverse academic areas, including practical area studies and education. In this study, the aim is to discuss the setup and types of Chinese in higher education all over Republic of South Korea. The methods of literature collection, department classification, and in-depth interview are adopted to analyze relevant Chinese departments and setup connotation in higher education in the country as well as the issues and challenges it is facing. This study discovers that 158 Chinese departments have been set up in 143 out of 361 universities in Republic of South Korea, among which are 133 in four-year system ones and 25 in two and three-year system ones. The four-year system ones contain larger schools: humanity, sociology, and education, which are further classified into language-literature, regionology, trade, and education; the subjects are divided into Mandarin, Chinese literature, Chinese culture, Chinese economy, Chinese diplomatic relation, Chinese trade, and Mandarin education. The two and three-year system ones contains sociology and others, which are further classified into Chinese economy, tourism, and others (medicine). The direction of Mandarin education in Korea can vary in time. Through the study, the following substantial results are discovered: the reason of why students learn Mandarin gradually turns from pure interest or literature orientation into practical and linguistic orientation. The education direction of Mandarin learning in Korea becomes more inclined to practical teaching of language rather than literature professions. Courses related to language are taught in Mandarin, and courses that are related to reading and comprehension are taught in Korean depending on students’ Mandarin level. Most students after four years of cultivation still lack the abilities of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The current teaching materials of Mandarin are yet to meet the demands of students and market, and there is stillroom for more practical direction. The hottest and most popular Mandarin departments are still “Department of Mandarin and Chinese Literature”, “Department of Sinology”, and “Department of Chinese Commerce”, etc. For the development rend and direction of Mandarin in Korea, although Mandarin learning is not at its peak in Korea now, its necessities and requirements still exist. However, Mandarin is no longer a single profession, but the basic foreign language skill for other professions. It is recommended that students who wish to learn Mandarin can focus on one major profession and take Mandarin as a supporting tool, thereby becoming more competitive.
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