Nepali youth’s lure for foreign jobs has given the country a distinction of having the highest number of candidates appearing for Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) being held on Saturday (August 28, 2010) and Sunday (August 29, 2010). As many as 93,173 people from 25 countries around the world are participating in the test and 45.13 per cent of them are Nepali citizens. According to Employment Permit System (EPS) Nepal, 42,050 Nepali youths are taking the test. The number of applicants in Nepal this year is the largest compared to candidates from any other country since EPS-TOPIK was introduced in 2004, Human Resource Department (HRD) South Korea said. For Nepali youth passing the TOKIP test is like wining a lottery. If a person works between three and five years including two years’ renewal at a standard South Korean salary of $1,000 a month, his income is sufficient to live a comfortable life as per Nepali standards. Indonesia held the record of the highest number of test takers with 41,756 candidates in May 2009. Earlier, TOPIK was known as Korean Language Test (KLT). South Korea conducts TOPIK in two versions –– ‘business’ for job seekers and ‘standard’ for general test. The business version of TOPIK is being held in 15 countries — Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and East Timor. People from 10 other countries are taking part in standard version. As many as 5,932 Japanese, 537 Australian, 534 Russian, 298 Brazilian, 205 Argentinean and 102 Indians are participating in standard TOPIK for further study in South Korea. Likewise, 22 college students of Korean language in Belarus are also appearing for the test. According to EPS Nepal, 21,239 applicants appeared for TOPIK on Saturday and remaining are taking the test on Sunday. The Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) is conducing the examination at 28 centres in the Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts. Tribhuvan University is providing technical aid for the test. South Korea is hiring only 4,000 Nepali workers in 2010-11. However, the government has requested the HRD, South Korea, to increase the number of intake. HRD, South Korea, is positive about the request, said Mohan Krishna Sapakota, Director General of Department of Foreign Employment. South Korea is a lucrative destination for Nepali migrant workers where a worker can earn up to $1,000 a month, which is six times more than popular destinations like Malaysia and Gulf countries –– Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
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Anil Giri serves as Kathmandu Correspondent for The Seoul Times.As a journalist he has worked for such news media as Annapurna Post, BBC, and Himalayan Times for years. He finished his both undergrad Economics degree and his MA degree in English Literature at Tribhuvan Univ., Kathmandu. He also holds a diploma in Development Journalism from prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication-IIMC, New Delhi, India.
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