According to recent data by The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) , 85,072 students have applied for a Korean language test for Sri Lankans, ahead of job selections in the manufacturing and fishing sectors in South Korea.
The tests are scheduled for March 13 for manufacturing and September 1 for fishing and will be held at the Korean Examination Center in Pannipitiya. The SLBFE has reported this as the highest number of Korean language test applicants on record.
Last recruiting year, the number of applicants who sat the Korean language proficiency test was approximately 31,378 – a significant jump in figures.
In 1977 Sri Lanka and South Korea established official diplomatic ties, celebrating the 45th anniversary in 2022. In the last decade, the two countries have worked to create an economic allyship, largely strengthening commercial ties and creating a demand for language learning.
In 2021, Sri Lanka officially adopted Korean as a foreign language subject option for college and university entrance exams.
High school students can take Korean from 12th grade and from this year, will have the opportunity to sit an advanced exam in the language to enter a public university. Currently approximately 25,000 Sri Lankans live and work in South Korea.
Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jeong Woo-jin said, “It’s wonderful that the Korean language was adopted in advanced-level classes this year and in an exam from 2023, when students who studied Korean as a foreign language can take the university entrance exam. It will greatly contribute to the promotion of bilateral ties.”
The ambassador added that learning Korean will create more job opportunities for Sri Lankans in Korea, particularly with the Korean government’s equal pay policy.