Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 2011 Amendments to the Hagwon Law

I've probably mentioned this several times, but I've never gotten around to posting about it specifically. On June 29, the National Assembly passed a bill amending the hagwon act which applies to foreign English teachers. The bill itself can be found here (in Korean). It was promulgated on July 25, 2011.

Act on the Establishment and Operation of Private Teaching Institutes and Extracurricular Lessons (in Korean here)
Some revised bills (alternative)
Bill # 12398
Date proposed: 2011.6.28
Submitted by: Chairperson of the Education, Science and Technology Committee

In the introduction we are told that the bill is essentially a compilation of various bills submitted over the past three years (Rep. Choi Young-hee, 2009.06.09; Rep. Kim Bu-gyeom, 2008.12.01; Rep. Gwon Yeong-gil, 2008.12.03; Rep. Lee Sang-min, 2008.12.24; Rep. Park Jong-hui, 2009.03.24; Rep. Lee Gun-hyeon, 2009.06.10; Rep. An Sang-su, 2009.09.02; Rep. Jeong Du-eon, 2009.11.10; Rep. Jo Jeon-hyeok, 2009.11.25; Rep. Kim Chun-jin, 2010.04.10).

Some of these names are familiar. Choi Young-hee proposed revisions to the school and kindergarten laws as well, but has finally found success with her planned revision to the hagwon law. Lee Gun-hyeon was responsible for releasing 'serious' foreign instructor crime stats (which showed their crime rate to be one fifth of the Korean crime rate) and Jo Jeon-hyeok was responsible for "forcing" foreign instructors to learn about Korea (as per KBS, via Brian). Choi Young-hee and Jo Jeon-hyeok's marks on this bill can be seen in the provisions regarding foreign instructors, which are just one focus out of several in this collection of bills. Here are the parts of the revised bill referring to foreign instructors:
The following will be established for Article 13 paragraph 3

In the case of foreign instructors (non-citizens of the Republic of Korea who, in accordance with paragraph 1, are responsible for instruction in a hagwon. Hereafter the same), training will be conducted more than once after entering the country to improve their skills as those responsible for social education and aid them in adapting to Korean culture.

The following will be established for Article 13-2
Article 13-2 (the hiring of foreign instructors) The person who established or manages the hagwon must, when hiring a foreign instructor to be responsible for foreign language instruction, submit the each of the following documents and have them confirmed before hiring the instructor:

1. A criminal background check
2. A health certificate (issued within the previous month and including the results of a drug and marijuana test)
3. An educational background certificate
4. Anything else prescribed by presidential decree
[As well, Article 23, which deals with penalties, will have paragraph 3-1 added to it, which stipulates that 3 million won will be the penalty if Article 13-2 is not followed.]

Supplementary Provisions

Article 5 (Interim Measures for foreign instructors carrying out foreign language instruction) According to the revised regulations in article 13-2, those currently working as foreign instructors must submit the documents listed in article 13-2 within one month of this law coming into effect.

Article 6 (Application of training for foreign instructors) After article 13(3)'s revised regulations within this law come into effect, they will apply to those foreign instructors who enter the country for the first time.
While it's good that this ostensibly closes the F-visa loophole, it doesn't solve the problem of Korean citizens who have lived abroad who have committed crimes there (and have either been deported to Korea or have fled to Korea to escape justice).


Andy said...

Do we know when this is coming into effect?

matt said...

I'm not really sure - I would assume July 25, if it was promulgated that day. (Some articles reported it was passed on August 15 (rather than June 29) - not sure what happened there.)