SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- The governments of South Korea and Uzbekistan are expanding cooperation to meet a growing demand for Korean language learning in the Central Asian country, officials in Seoul said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Education said it plans to hold a workshop in Tashkent on Wednesday to improve the capabilities of Korean language teachers serving in Uzbekistan and explore ways to advance Korean language teaching methods.
At the workshop, Korean teachers serving in Uzbek schools will give a class demonstration by utilizing Korean pop songs and television dramas, ministry officials said.
At present, there are nine Korean teachers in Uzbekistan.
The officials said the demand for Korean language learning has been rising in Uzbek cities, such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench, as well as in Tashkent in recent years.
South Korea's government and Uzbekistan's education ministry jointly published a Korean language textbook for Uzbek high schools during the 2015-2017 period.
Thanks to such efforts, more than 11,000 Uzbeks, including 9,300 students from 34 elementary, middle and high schools, and 2,100 students from 13 universities, are now learning Korean as a regular subject.
The growth rate is impressive, considering there were only 7,100 Korean learners at 19 Uzbek elementary and secondary schools as of 2014.
In September this year, Tashkent State Oriental Studies University established a Korean studies college consisting of Korean language, Korean history and culture, and Korean economic and political science departments.
Besides the regular schools and universities, approximately 7,100 Uzbeks are learning Korean at Korean language institutes sponsored by the South Korean government.
"Uzbeks' interest in Korean language is developing into their interest in Korea," a ministry official said. "The Seoul government will expand support for the further development of Korean language learning in Uzbekistan."
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