Korean at Secondary Schools

A first step towards a better environment for Australia's Korean language education

Korean Studies at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences have received a grant to strengthen Korean language education at schools

Project objectives 
The project will consolidate the pathways for Korean language education in Australia, and address sectoral and regional imbalances by:

  • devising national strategies that will improve the presence of Korean at secondary schools
  • holding a national strategic conference in conjunction with the release of the National Curriculum
  • designing and executing a visitation program to Korea to engage and inform secondary school principals and officers from the Department of Education and Curriculum Authorities of the relevance of Korea to future Australian citizens

The project is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Korea Foundation, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


In recent years there have been considerable improvements in Australia’s Korean language education, most notably in universities and primary schools.

From 2009 to 2014, first-year Korean language enrolments at universities in Australia trebled. The Korean enrolments at schools have also increased substantially across Australia, from about 3300 in thirty odd schools in 2009 to 8468 in 61 schools in 2014.

However, behind these impressive increases, we find:

  • still less than 1% of the K/F-12 students are studying Korean in Australia
  • Years 11 and 12 Korean enrolments have been decreasing since 2009 (although the number of non-background speaker students undertaking the senior secondary Korean are increasing)
  • these considerable improvements in Korean have been achieved only at schools in the Eastern States

Nevertheless, the situational context is becoming more favourable to Australia’s Korean language education. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has indicated that the Australian Curriculum: Languages (F-10), to be released in 2014, will include Korean.

The 2015 New Colombo Plan, an Australian Government initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region, will officially launch next year and Korea will be one of the destinations for young Australians to choose for their overseas studies.

The Korean at secondary schools project proposes, as a first step towards a better environment for Australia's Korean language education, to transform these initial developments into stepping stones for the next stage of development.

Organisational units