Korea to launch mentorship programmes for N Korean defectors

21-Apr-2021 Intellasia | UPI | 5:02 AM Print This Post

School-age North Korean defectors in the South are to receive mentoring and customised educational support to ease their transition into society, according to education agencies.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Monday it would launch a new mentoring programme for North Korean defectors and South Korean students of multicultural background, News 1 reported.

The defectors are to receive “customised mentoring” based on their learning needs. All schools in the Seoul metropolitan area reporting at least one defector in enrollment can apply for mentoring, the report said.

The new policy is being announced in the South Korean capital after defectors and activists raised awareness of the special needs of North Korean refugees.

In February, defector and South Korean lawmaker Ji Seong-ho said one in four North Korean defectors receives treatment for mental health issues, including depression, panic disorder and insomnia.

On Monday, the Seoul Office of Education said the mentoring will vary across schools, but programmes are designed to promote social and emotional development while teaching defectors basic learning skills. The first programme is to begin in May and end in February, the report said.

Seoul City Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon said the supplementary education also addresses issues that have emerged among students during the coronavirus pandemic.

The education gap has widened due to COVID-19, and basic mentoring could address the needs of students with fewer resources, the report said.

South Korea could be moving toward a nationwide effort to address the needs of school-age defectors.

Newsis reported Thursday that the Daejeon City Office of Education is to launch a “customised education support programme” for defectors.

The government agency has budgeted about $60,000 for the programme. Defectors are eligible to receive one-on-one mentoring with instructors.

Korean-language education support also is to be made available for students born in “third countries” unfamiliar with the language, the report said.

South Korea’s ministry of education said in 2019 there are more than 1,500 children born to North Korean women and Chinese men who have resettled in the South.



Category: Korea

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