Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Teaching English In Korea

The Daily Kimchi has a nice summary of landing your own teaching gig in Korea. The article seems to be focused on Hagwon employment, the private schools that (I'm convinced) some Koreans see more as a fashion accessory than a useful, extra curricular activity. I teach in the public sector where the programs are mediocre and laughable compared to what goes on in an hagwon.

Rafael Sabio's commentary English Education in Korea: It's Time for Accountability does an excellent job of highlighting how useless the English education system is, starting with the price tag:

Is it not a wonder why over 10 billion USD was spent on English education in South Korea in 2006, and yet there has been no noticeable improvement in the English education system
He then goes on to accurately point out how the Ministry of Education is a poster child for inefficient government programs:
Nowhere does the Ministry of Justice state that an instructor of the English language must have some type of teaching certification, experience, or relevant credentials in order to teach.
Today, Koreans wishing to teach English as a foreign language are required to have only a bachelor's degree in any discipline. In other words, a Korean can teach English without really knowing the language!
And of course there's this little gem that brilliants explains why the current divide of public and private education is so great:
With all of the "interesting" television shows and documentaries based on the "terrible teachers of Korea," one would think the government would take action and correct this problem. Instead, they sit back and do nothing. Why is this? Why would a government that cares so much about its people not fix something as important as its education system? My guess is….the money.
It is understood that the academy (hagwon) associations exert a lot of influence over the government. Furthermore, because it is such a lucrative business, hagwons are seen as a wonderful source of revenue.
The article is not without criticism but it does echo other critiques of English education in Korea and gives a good idea of why English Education is on the election agenda.

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