Friday, June 15, 2012

The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women

Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 11: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 12: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 13: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1

Part 14: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 15: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 16: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 17: 'Regret' over t
he scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 18: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 19: "Unfit foreign instructo
rs should be a 'social issue'"
Part 20: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 21: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 22: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 23: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 24: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 25: Don't Imagine
Part 26: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 27: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 28: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 29: Internet real name system debated
Part 30: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?
Part 31: Foreign instructor: "In two years I slept with 20 Korean women."
Part 32: Invasion of Privacy Degrades Korean Women Twice Over
Part 33: 60 unqualified native speaking instructors hired for English instruction
Part 34: The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors

On January 26, the Kyunghyang Sinmun published an article about unqualified foreign teachers (which came ten days after publishing an editorial about how white foreigners were treated too well compared to foreign labourers):
"If they have blue eyes, it's OK." The rising tide of unqualified foreign instructors

Due to the early English education craze, there is a rapidly increasing influx of foreigners from the United States and Canada making money as conversation instructors. However, lax verification of their qualifications is leading to under-qualified teachers and of course various illegal activities, or causing problems detrimental to education. The true situation is that those with no visa qualifying them for conversation instruction have taught regular classes in elementary school and have even forged university degrees.

Forging diplomas for illegal employment = On the 26th, the foreign crimes division of the Gyeonggi area police arrested Mr. Lee (37), the owner of a well known English language hagwon franchise, for contravening the Employment Security Act and the Immigration Act by illegally hiring 47 Canadians who had no conversation instruction (E-2) visa, finding them jobs as elementary school instructors or private tutors, and taking in 120,000,000 won in fraudulent gains. The Canadians entered Korea on tourist (F-1) visas and were hired as instructors at 5 elementary school or as private tutors in the Seoul area. Among them, it turned out there were two who were 19 and had not graduated from university who openly taught children.

Even in cases where people have E-2 visas, the issue is serious. According to the immigration act, those with a nationality where English is the mother tongue and who have only a university degree can pass an interview, receive an E-2 visa, and work as an instructor. Jeong Hae-tak, representative of ANS, a employment company for foreigners, said, "There are Americans who submit fake degrees who are discovered while headed toward the interview." "If you go to Itaewon in Seoul, a university degree can be forged for 40 to 50 dollars." "If you want to try to confirm whether an instructor has actually graduated from a foreign university, it takes two to three weeks to send and receive an official document, and for this reason there are almost no hagwons or companies which have followed this procedure."

In these circumstances, cases of foreign instructors' disordered personal lives being exposed, or of habitual behavior detrimental to education such as being absent without permission, are increasing. Recently, foreign language hagwons have created and shared a "blacklist" of foreigners to watch out for at hiring time.

'If they have blond hair and blue eyes', then "OK" = Foreign language educators point out that lax qualification verification procedures and a tendency to easily trust white people encourages an influx of illegal and under-qualified instructors. An official at a foreign language hagwon in Jongno, Seoul, said, "For North Americans wanting to go to Asia and make money, Korea is the most popular place." "Since parents and students prefer white people without differentiating, one white person put up a photo and resume on a foreign job site and got job offers from about ten hagwons." "They can select a job with good conditions and through distorted personal experiences such as asking that 'female students come to my house and do the dishes," the perception that "Korea is an easy mark" has spread, he added.

Canadian foreign language hagwon instructor Joy Turnbull said, "In Korea employment is decided by confirmation of your degree and a short interview." "There is more emphasis on appearance and interview skills than in qualifications or ability."

Professor Yun Hui-gi of Korea Unversity's international language school said, "Review of qualifications should be thoroughly carried out locally at places such as overseas Korean consulates." "On the hiring side as well, their qualifications as educators should be strictly verified through such things as in-depth interviews," she stressed.
The article points out many of the things wrong with the system, though, with statements like "it takes two to three weeks to send and receive an official document," it also seems to communicate the idea that 'it's beyond our control.' On the other hand, it can't quite resist describing an "influx of illegal and under-qualified instructors" who have "disordered personal lives" in which they have "distorted personal experiences such as asking that 'female students come to my house and do the dishes,'" which encourages the perception that "Korea is an easy mark."With this, the article is one of the first (well, since the 1980s, at least) to construct the 'problem with foreign instructors,' and it lays out a blueprint which mixes legitimate concerns with salacious insinuations and a depiction of Korean society as being both vulnerable to victimization by foreign instructors and helpless to stop them (unless the authorities take action).


brent said...

Again, why can't they pick up the phone and confirm degrees. Why is up to the overseas consulates to do this kind of work. It's beyond retarded that no organization in Korea is willing to take on this task. The Korean Organization of Universities or something almost immediately closed their service when they were the only ones in Korea that provided academic verification.

Jose "Pepino" Ojeda said...

Excellent article, I was once one of the unqualified English teachers working for kids in S.Korea, I was Korean language student and a Japanese class partner introduced me to a hagwon headmaster, I was surprised as I was accepted immediately regardless my received education which was actually none.

Considering I am a white Venezuelan they didn't even bother to pick the phone and start enquiries.