From the Canadian Press:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging South Korea to scrap a requirement that foreign teachers take an HIV test, an official said Tuesday.Interesting. I don't think the Ministry of Education has been so upfront about this before, though, as I mentioned here, GEPIK has apparently fired three teachers for being HIV+ in the past. As for the Chosun Ilbo's article mentioned above (there's an English version here), it has an interesting sentence in it:
South Korea dropped a travel ban in January for most foreigners with the virus that causes AIDS, drawing praise from the United Nations. But it still requires foreign teachers, most of whom teach English, to take HIV tests. The ban is largely the result of pressure by parents.
In a meeting last week with Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik in Seoul, Ban urged that the HIV test requirement be abolished, said Yoo Sung-sik, a spokesman for Kim. Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, was in Seoul to attend a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies.
Kim told Ban he would carefully review the request, Yoo said.[...]
In South Korea, if foreign teachers test positive for the virus, the government reports the results to their employers. The government cannot deport them, but employers usually cancel the HIV-infected teacher's contract, their teaching visa is automatically nullified, and they then have to immediately leave South Korea, according to the Education Ministry.
Ban's request was first reported Tuesday by the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
However, to accommodate the views of the Ministry of Education and students' parents' organization, HIV testing is still required only for foreign teachers who teach [such languages as] English.Now, it has been said several times that 'parents support the HIV tests for teachers,' such as in the first article above ("The ban is largely the result of pressure by parents.") as well as here:
According to an unofficial survey by the Prime Minister’s Office, the majority of parents wanted solid evidence of their children’s teachers’ HIV status,” said an official of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.The Korea Herald described that survey in more detail:
Concerns were highlighted in a press release from the prime minister’s office on July 12 informing people of the results of a survey on whether or not HIV testing of foreigners should be abolished. In two surveys -- one of 500 men and women over 20, the other of 50 professionals (teachers, doctors) -- the results overwhelmingly indicated the desire to continue testing foreigners for HIV -- 80.7 percent for the former and 82 percent for the latter.Nothing is said about the "500 men and women over 20" being "parents," but the 'parents have concerns, just look at this survey' line has been used several times now.
More concerning is the reference in the Chosun Ilbo article to the "students' parents' organization" which supported HIV tests. I have never heard of such an organization. There was an organization that wrote the Ministry of Health and Welfare, claiming to represent "parents of students and all citizens," and applauded them after it was announced that HIV tests would continue for E-2 visa holders. They also drew a link between the 'demands of parents' and the survey. That group, however, was Anti English Spectrum.
It seems the Chosun Ilbo has decided that describing AES as a 'citizen's group' is not enough. How fitting for the Chosun Ilbo, which has given AES a voice over the years in its various publications like Sports Chosun ("Beware the 'ugly white teacher'), Weekly Chosun, and Chosun.com, to help re-brand them as a "students' parents' organization."
Not that there's anything incorrect about this, I suppose. They've been 'concerned' about students and concerned with 'parents' for years now, as this earlier incarnation of their website, with its pictures of nationalist forefathers and the statement (in red) "Our homeland is protected by the blood of our ancestors" reveals:
I'm sure AES, with their concern for the nation's children, will have a great deal to say about the owner of a boarding academy booked for 19 sexual assaults against 7 female students aged 15-18 over 14 months (who the girls said acted like a pseudo cult leader saying sex with him would improve their test results).
(On an unrelated note, the Chosun Ilbo's glowing description of the "The 5 Korean Beauties of the Asian Games" begins with 16 year-old Son Yeon-jae.)
And with their concern over sexually transmitted diseases, I'm sure they also have much to say about the 9 year old girl who couldn't afford taekwondo fees who was raped three times by her instructor and given an std, and are busy arguing whether seven years in prison and 20 years wearing an ankle bracelet was really severe enough punishment. (From Korea Beat)
They're likely also debating whether a teacher in Cheongju went too far when he opened the windows and made his (male, it seems) high school students take off their shirts and sit in their cold classroom during self study session last week.
Four out of the 12 most recent posts are about Quincy Black (another shows their media contacts) and there's nothing about these recent cases (or any cases) of Korean children being abused by Korean teachers, and little on the threat posed to them by a Korean Canadian murder suspect. Which should tell you all you need to know about the "students' parents organization."