Education Companies: "Is there no law to catch fake English instructors?"Despite the way it begins with the arrest of a Korean-Australian (presumably native speaking) instructor, looking at how the article focuses on the training of Korean instructors, it seems native speaking instructors are not really the target here, only English instructors with faked backgrounds in general. The single person they interviewed makes it seem as if the hagwons have been left out to dry by the government in this regard, but it does at least look at the problem in a non-accusatory way. I'm not sure if a government-backed investigative organization is necessarily what's needed, but it would at least lead to a cohesive policy. One wonders what this "agreement with 97 countries to have the academic backgrounds of newly hired instructors confirmed" that Pagoda has entered into is about. Do any readers know?
This year has also seen the discovery of English hagwon instructors who have faked their academic backgrounds. Educational companies have prepared countermeasures to deal with the endemic "fake instructor" problem but they point out that "It's difficult to do through our effort alone."
On March 22, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency International Crime Division booked without detention Ms. Seol, a 35 year old Korean Australian, for faking her academic credentials from a foreign university and teaching at a well known English hagwon in Korea. It's known that she faked a diploma from UNSW in Sydney and, since 2004, had worked at two hagwons in Gangnam as an English instructor and made around 400 million won in ill-gotten earnings during that time. In Some hagwons' cases, in regards to blocking fake instructors at their root, they personally verify and take the lead in instructor education. Avalon Education, which speciallizes in English education for elementary and middle school students, runs courses for those specializing in English education (ACEE) supporting English education theory, research and practice for university graduates hoping to become specialists in English education.
[It then mentions Jeongcheol's training system (for Korean instructors).]
Pagoda Academy runs its own instructor employment management system. In order to work in Korea as a foreign instructor, one must have graduated from a four year university program. In the past, Pagoda entrusted the Korean Council for University Education with verifying degrees, but from January this year entered into an agreement with 97 countries to have the academic backgrounds of newly hired instructors confirmed.
However, it's been pointed out that it's difficult for hagwons themselves to completely and realistically manage and crack down on fake instructors. An official at an English education company who requested anonymity said, "In cases where people who are proficient at English or are native speakers go ahead and request a forger to make a document, neither national investigative agencies nor hagwons find it easy to verify if something is false." "Moreover, in cases where someone is good lecturing or is popular, if you have doubts, sometimes you might overlook them due to their performance."
Therefore, "What's needed is a government-backed investigative organization."
Thursday, April 21, 2011
On March 23, Financial News published the following story: