According to a report by The Korea Times foreign students entering the country currently have to go through special entry procedures around flight schedules and self-quarantine on arrival.
“A detailed plan for the second semester will be announced next month”
However the South Korean government’s education ministry is now planning on encouraging foreign students to stay in their home countries and take classes online.
“The education ministry is in talks with universities to advise them to improve the credit system for lectures requiring face-to-face lessons in the first semester of next year,” said Ahn Woong-hwan, deputy head of the ministry’s higher education policy.
“A detailed plan for the second semester will be announced next month,” Woong-hwan added.
According to The Korea Times, data released by South Korea’s education ministry shows that some 37,375 international students have entered the country in the first half of the year. 25,777 of these students were from China, 8,344 from Vietnam and 59 from the United States.
Out of that total number, 23 were confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19 ― 16 of whom were identified during the self-quarantine period, while seven cases were confirmed during screening at the airport.
The South Korean government said there had been no cases of the virus being spread to the local community by those students who tested positive.
Under current guidelines, all arrivals into South Korea, regardless of nationality and length of stay, are required to be tested for Covid-19 and to undergo quarantine for 14 days.
The government’s call for students to stay in their home countries comes at a time when students are increasingly looking towards South Korea as a study destination.
An analysis done by Bridge-U into student decisions in 2020 and 2021, showed that international students are still keen to study in the country despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Surveyed over 850 international students in 120 countries Bridge-U found a “sizeable minority” of students are interested in other countries beyond traditional international study destinations.
Bridge-U asked 2020 graduates who said their plans had changed to rank their initial pre-Covid study destination preferences and to share their post-Covid destination rankings. South Korea saw a significant boost in popularity (+52%) amongst Bridge-U’s 2021 cohort.