The School Problem with Children from Multicultural Families in Korea

Discrimination and prejudice against Hafu has been gradually vanishing, but they are still around today in Japan. Many Hafu have their identities hurt by discrimination and prejudice. There is the same problem against Hafu in Korea, like in Japan. However, the Hafu problem in Korea is a little different than the one in Japan. In Korea, the Hafu problem is more complicated and has become a big social issue. I will write focusing on the problem of Korea, especially based on multinational family.

These days, Korean society is rapidly moving towards becoming a multicultural society. International marriages have increased to the point of approximately 12% of the total marriages in Korea. Every year, over 3 million women from Asian countries such as China, Philippines, and Vietnam marry Korean men. The number of multicultural families has been increasing for years in Korea. At present, children who are born in multicultural families are reaching around 6 million and, in several years, one in four students in rural areas’ schools are expected to be from those families. However, the failure of Korean society to handle this social change brings many problems in multicultural families. Some of the serious problems are school problems of children.

Most children from multicultural families may suffer delayed language development. They have difficulties in writing, reading, speaking, and listening to Korean. In a bad environment to acquire Korean, where foreign mothers who are poor at Korean and fathers who are too busy working, many children are not able to communicate clearly. This language problem has a bad effect on the school life of children.

On account of lack of language ability and difference of facial features, children of multicultural families are the target for bullying and teasing. They have troubles adjusting to the school. They have a hard time keeping up with classes because of their lower Korean level, and they become the object of ridicule from classmates because they look different. This causes them to lose confidence and to be gradually excluded from school. According to the data of the recent government audit, 39.7% of children in a junior high school course and 69.7% in a high school course do not go to school. Comparing with the average family, these figures are 9.9 times higher in a junior high school course and 8 times higher in a high school course. Eventually, many children even give up their studies because of their lack of opportunities to learn Korean and their difference of appearance.

Recently Korean society has been trying to solve the school problem with children of multinational families. Local government, private organizations, universities and others have started new policies supporting and assisting children with adapting to school. However, it would be more significant to eliminate the social prejudice towards mixed-blooded people that is prevalent in Korean society. Korea has had a strong recognition as a homogeneous nation, one in which education based on homogeneity was provided. Increasing education towards the understanding of multiple cultures for average students in school is one way. It will make students deepen their understanding of different cultures and help them overcome prejudice towards mix-blooded people.

Children of multinational families face problems such as educational obstacles and bullying at school and eventually many of them abandon their studies. Considering that the number of multicultural children is rising, this has become a serious social problem. Although nowadays many organizations work had to solve it, social attitudes towards multicultural families and children are still not positive. In order for these children to feel included in school and society, a lot of effort is needed to be put towards changing the common perception of these children.


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