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With a history that can be traced back for more than a century, overseas Chinese schools are not only the earliest but also currently the most common foreign schools in Korea. Before the 1970s, these schools were not governed by the laws of Korea. It is only in the 1970s that overseas Chinese schools were legally recognized, not as schools but as "foreign organizations". Due to the financial and economic crisis at the end of the 1990s, the Korean Government loosened its restrictions on foreigners and rescinded the registration rules for "foreign organizations" in the hope to attract more foreign investors, changing the legal status of overseas Chinese schools from "foreign organizations" to "schools of varied types". As a result, overseas Chinese schools obtained their legal status as "schools" in Korea for the very first time. In this paper, the change of legal status of overseas Chinese schools in Korea and its influences on the schools will be investigated, along with a discussion on the dilemma faced by the schools and their survival strategies.
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