Challenges and Tasks of Global Citizenship Education in East Asia: Assimilation Policy of Multicultural Family Students in South Korea 

Young-Hee Han


This paper examines challenges and opportunities of global citizenship education in East Asia by analyzing the assimilation policy of multicultural family students in South Korea. The author argues that global citizenship and nationality are interdependent in this increasingly globalized society. This document reviews one of the popular concepts of global citizenship: embracing cultural diversity. First, it introduces global citizenship education agenda at global, regional and local level. Second, it describes the different perspectives of multicultural education between West and East. Unlike Western countries focusing on equity of human rights, East Asian countries emphasize group harmony because they live by Collectivism and Confucianism. Third, it examines how and to what extent global citizenship education can develop in South Korea by suggesting three resolutions of respecting cultural diversity and embracing otherness within the society. The paper demonstrates South Korea has become a multicultural society with the increasing inflow of western values, foreign workers, international marriages and North Korean defectors. Therefore, the state has conflicts between Korean traditional values and non-Korean values. The government manages these conflicts by enforcing the assimilation policy of multicultural family students. The findings indicate that the majority of multicultural family students hardly understand their heritages’ cultures and languages, compared to Korean culture and Korean language. Rather, they are guided to having one single Korean identity. The author argues that South Korea should respect cultural differences and embrace cultural diversity in order to develop inclusive global citizenship education. 


Global Citizenship Education; South Korea; Cultural Diversity; Multicultural Education; Assimilation Policy

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