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EBS set to create educational 'hallyu'

2011/12/02 | 231 views |  | Permalink | Source

Learn to read Korean in 90 minutes or less using visual associations

By Yun Suh-young

Educational zeal is universal. How to educate their kids is the top concern for parents all over the world.

But for the underprivileged in poor nations, providing a proper education is just a pipe dream due to a lack of teaching material and resources.

To help these less privileged children, the Korea Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) has been actively providing educational material. EBS President Kwak Duk-hoon and some other staff members will leave for Ethiopia, Tuesday, with educational resources that will be donated to elementary schools in the country.

"We are going to provide 326 DVDs to eight schools. We will also donate equipment such as projectors, laptops and speakers. Our crew will set the equipment up for the schools and teach them how to use it", Kwak said.

The educational material will help the students learn English more easily and in a fun way.

"The content in the video material is all in English and mostly consists of children's stories in flash animation", Kwak said.

There is also some teaching material but mostly animation because children are most enthusiastic when they watch it, he said.

"I was shocked and thrilled to see animation we previously donated to Ghana being played at an airport there. That's how our content is being used", Kwak said.

Why was Ethiopia selected out of all the other countries in Africa?

"Because they helped us during the Korean War about 60 years ago. They were among the 16 U.N. member countries who volunteered to fight for us. There were only two African nations", he said. "Ethiopia sent us over 6,000 soldiers between 1951 and 1965. Some 121 died and 536 were wounded".

The company has been helping developing countries like Ghana since 2004 but the overseas educational aid project solidified in 2009 when Kwak took the helm of the company.

He created international cooperation and corporate social responsibility teams. In 2010, EBS signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mongolia, Colombia and Myanmar to provide educational content or to co-produce it.

Kwak stressed the importance of helping out those in need.

"It's now our turn to help them out. How we can help them out is through education, especially English education. Just as we help the neglected in our society, we can apply the same rules to those in other countries. Education is the basis of our lives. Parents feel the same way about education all over the world", said Kwak.

The president felt educational broadcasting systems in developing countries were having difficulty with content. So he decided to provide EBS' educational material abroad.

"Countries like Myanmar and Colombia had educational broadcasting stations but they didn't have enough content. They said they had difficulty filling the channel so I thought of donating our content and teaching them the EBS model", said Kwak.

What is the EBS model?

"The EBS model refers to our 'know-how'. How we launched the project, who we targeted, how we developed our content...The kind of history EBS has. Telling them how we started helps tremendously", he said.

"Exporting our educational content is also a way of spreading educational hallyu (Korean wave). People in Africa already know our products from Samsung and Hyundai. But apart from material products, we need to export cultural content like educational material".

He said EBS' content differed from other materials because it was focused solely on educational purposes.

"Our English education content is not limited to one specific culture. For example, we have a program called World Theme Tour. This program introduces various countries around the world. We try to create our content from a global point of view", said Kwak. "The only way we can survive in the industry is to strengthen our specialty which is education".

Asked whether there has been any marked progress since it began its overseas projects, he said, "It takes time".

He said results from investing in education or information technology don't come immediately because they're about changing the mindset.

"If they recognize Korea, that can be seen as progress. But what's really important is giving them content to learn from. Building schools and establishing infrastructure - anyone can do that. But not everyone can provide educational content like we do", he said.

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