Monday, October 29, 2012

Korea-related books on sale

The Royal Asiatic Society - Korea Branch is having a book sale with drastically reduced prices that is open to anyone interested, and runs until November 10, 2012. Here's all the technical information, followed by a few of my recommendations:
For every 30,000 won of purchases, one of the titles marked (*) may be chosen as a free gift.
Orders (indicating authors and titles) should be emailed to raskb.books@gmail.com (not our usual email address, please) specifying if you can collect the books from our office (Seoul, Jongno 5ga, Christian Building) during working hours, or if you wish us to calculate the cost of packing and postage, and mail them. Please remember to indicate your full mailing address. If you live overseas, please specify if you prefer surface or airmail mailing. You will then be informed of the total cost including postage. Please tell us if you need the price to be indicated in US dollars (for payment through Paypal etc). Payment must be received before books are collected or mailed.
Here are a few of the books on sale which I've read before and can highly recommend:

Korean Political Tradition and Law. Hahm Pyong-choon, RAS-KB, 1971, Hardcover. 249 pp. ISBN 978-89-93699-07-4   Sale price KW10,000

This collection of articles by Harvard-educated law professor Hahm Pyong-choon (later Ambassador to the United States, and later still a victim of the North Korean bombing of the South Korean cabinet in Burma in 1982) may have first been published in 1967, but don't let that put you off. When it comes to explaining differences between Korean culture and society and the West, I'd rate this as one of the best books I've read. If you've ever been curious what Neo-Confucianism is (back to its Chinese sources) and how it affected the development of Korean political and social institutions, the first half of the opening essay deals with this, looking at how Chinese influences were adapted to Korean needs. He also looks at questions related to Korea being underdeveloped, and looks at differences in the legal traditions (the legalistic systems of the West vs the ethical systems of the East) with a critical eye (describing, for example, the "suffocating orthodoxy of the Yi Confucianism" which "slowly strangled the entire society"). He argues that because laws were never intended to protect the rights of the people, and were essentially used as weapons by those with power, and because Korea was ushered into a modern legal system under a colonial power, there was a long tradition of trying to evade the law, something which clearly has consequences today. In addition to this, several essays look at how the law is viewed by those who are tasked with enforcing it, with one examining attitudes towards squatters and whether officials and police thought it just to evict them when it came time for redevelopment (an issue which is certainly still relevant today, much like his analysis of attitudes towards the law against abortion). At any rate, I've only touched on a few chapters in this book, and with it being hardcover and only 10,000 won (down from 30,000), it's well worth it.

Confucian Gentlemen and Barbarian Envoys: The Opening of Korea, 1875-1885. Martina Deuchler. RAS-KB and U of Washington p, 1977. Hardbound. 310 pp. ISBN 978-89-93699-05-0   Sale price KW10,000

If you've ever wanted to know more about how Korea was opened by Japan and to the West, and the repercussions of the changes that occurred (especially of the reactions of the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats who thought their world was coming to an end and who fought it every step of the way), this book is well worth reading. Using Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Western sources, it provides a readable and concise history of the decade between 1875 and 1885 and delves into the motivations and actions of all the major players. I liked that it manages at times to have both a macro and micro view of events - who knew that the penalty for Korean women sneaking into the Japanese settlement in Busan (after it was opened) was beheading? There's lots to keep the reader interested, and, again, a hardcover book for 10,000 won (down from 42,000) is a great deal. (It's certainly quite a bit more through Amazon.)

The Imjin War. Sam Hawley. RAS-KB 2005. Hardbound, xvi pp. + 664 pp. + 20 pp. illustrations. ISBN 978-89-954424-2-5   Sale price KW25,000

The blurb at the RAS-KB site describes this book as "The most comprehensive account ever published in English of this cataclysmic event, so little known in the West. It begins with the political and cultural background of Korea, Japan, and China, discusses the diplomatic breakdown that led to the war, describes every major incident and battle from 1592 to 1598, and introduces a fascinating cast of characters along the way."

To add to this description, I would simply say that if you have any interest in this war - a war which led to the deaths of 10% of the Korean population and dwarfed anything happening in Europe at the time (Hideyoshi's initial invasion of Korea in 1592 was five times larger than the Spanish Armada was four years earlier) - then you want to read this book. It's very readable and gives you a good sense of who the main players were, and jumps back and forth between them (and even manages an interlude or two to look into how the war affected the Spanish in the Philippines). Again, it's hardcover, and with its normal price tag of 65,000 won being knocked down to 25,000 it's pretty hard to go wrong.

Undiplomatic Memories. William F. Sands, 1930. RAS-KB Reprint, 1990 Softbound. 238 pp.   Sale price KW8,000

William Franklin Sands began his career as an American foreign service officer in Japan in 1897 and then became first secretary of legation in Seoul the next year. From 1900-1904 he served as adviser to Emperor Gojong, and in this capacity, he was the last independent foreign adviser, being replaced during the Russo-Japanese War as he was by pro-Japanese American Durham White Stevens (who was assassinated by Korean 'patriots' in San Francisco in 1908). Living up to its name, this book recounts his time at the US legation and as adviser to Emperor Gojong in a pretty informal manner (describing how he almost came to blows with Prince Henry of Prussia or the reaction of some missionary women who caught him taking a bath in front of his house at the legation), and his service involved dealing with European diplomats playing at imperialist diplomacy, hunting down bandits in the north, dealing with a cholera outbreak, putting down a rebellion on Jeju Island, hearing rumours of Japanese plans to murder him, and chatting with a very amiable Ito Hirobumi, who he had interrupted while surrounded by geishas and wine. An entertaining read.

Fifteen Years Among the Topknots. 1904 and 1908. Lillias H. Underwood, RAS-KB Reprint, 1987. Softbound. 403 pp.  Sale price KW8,000

A personal account of the rapid change that occurred in Joseon Korea from the 1880s to the 1900s, written by a medical missionary who came to know the king and queen while also dealing with the poorest members of Korean society. She gives first hand accounts of such things as the 1888 'baby riots' and the Donghak Uprising.

South Korea (P. Bartz) Clarendon Press, Hardbound. 203pp ($10 / KW12,000) Sale price KW2,000

This book was published in 1972 and was written as a geographical study of Korea at that time. It's full of information about everything from Korea's topography and agriculture to industrial development, transportation and urbanization, and touches on Korea's history and culture. Full of photos and maps, it's well worth the sale price of 2,000 won. Here's Richard Rutt's review of the book from 1973:


Here are a few more books on sale that I've read and enjoyed:


Virtuous Women: Three Classic Korean Novels. Translated by Richard Rutt and Kim Chong-un, RAS-KB, 1974. Hardbound. 399 pp. ISBN 89-954424-3-3 Sale price KW15,000

For those interested in traditional literature or the place of women during the Joseon Dynasty, here are three most significant works of traditional Korean fiction: A Nine Cloud Dream, The True History of Queen Inhyon, and The Song of a Faithful Wife, Ch'unhyang. The major characters are all women and the three novels together give a vivid picture of the Korean ideal of womanhood before it felt the impact of Western culture. At 15,000 won, it's quite reduced from 54,000 won. If you're just interested in Chunhyang, it's available by itself as:

(*) The Song of a Faithful Wife, Richard Rutt, trans. RAS-KB Reprint, 1999, Paperbound, 97 pp.
Sale price KW2,000
Here is the timeless love story of Korea--the story of Ch'unhyang. An official's son and a girl of lowbirth fall in love and are secretly married. The official and his family are sent far away, and the girl becomes the property of a local official who abuses her. Her lover, though, attains the rank of government inspector and returns to punish the local official and rescue his beloved. Rutt's translation in narrative form is the most readable of English translations currently available. (Originally 12,000 won)
Yogong: Factory Girl. Robert F. Spencer, RAS-KB, 1988. Softbound. 185 pp. ISBN 89-954424-4-1   Sale price KW5,000
A book based on an ethnographic field study of the girls and young women who worked in factories undertaken between 1972 and 1978, looking at the families they came from, their movement from the countryside to the city, work and living conditions, struggles with education, and how marriage affected them and their work.

Hamel's Journal and a Description of the Kingdom of Korea, 1653-1666. Hendrik Hamel, English translation by Jean-Paul Buys, RAS-KB, 1998. Softbound. 107 pp. ISBN 89-7225-086-4  Sale price KW8,000
The first Western account of Korea is the story of a group of sailors shipwrecked on Cheju-do. Some thirteen years later, after escaping to Japan, Hamel gave the outside world a firsthand description of Korea, an almost unknown country until then. This is the first translation based on the original manuscript. $15 / KW18,000

(*) Discovering Seoul: An Historical Guide. Donald N. Clark and James H. Grayson. RAS-KB, 1986. Softbound. illustrated, with maps. 358 pp. ISBN 978-89-93699-04-3 Sale price KW2,000

As a guide to Seoul, a book published in 1986 is obviously going to be out of date, but its description of  historical monuments and sites in Seoul is still worthwhile, and it includes maps, color photographs, and explanations of the history and significance of each site. I suppose another thing that's interesting are the descriptions of sites that no longer exist.

(*) Early Voyagers: Collected Poems. James Wade. Hollym 1969. ($2 / KW2,000) Free with any other purchase on request
I've posted lots of excerpts from Wade's 1967 book 'One Man's Korea' here before. I'm not sure how enticing a book of poetry by him is, but it is a hardcover, attractive looking book signed and numbered by the author, and its free, so why not?


These are the books I'll be buying from the sale; the first is more for the biography of James Gale, one of the most important Canadians to set foot on the peninsula:

James Scarth Gale's History of the Korean People, edited by Richard Rutt, RAS-KB, 1967. Hardbound. 174 pp. ISBN 978-89-954424-1-8   Sale price KW10,000

A reprint of the classic English-language history of Korea first published in 1927. It has been extensively annotated by Bishop Rutt with reference to sources and including commentary. It is introduced by an extensive and, to date, the only biography of Dr. Gale. a towering scholar in the early days of Western residence in Korea. $40 / KW48,000

Challenged Identities: North American Missionaries in Korea 1884-1934. Elizabeth Underwood, RAS-KB, 2004. Hardbound, 326 pp. ISBN 978-89-954424-0-1   Sale price KW10,000

A fascinating look into the lives of the first Protestant missionaries to Korea: the challenges they faced in their lives, from overcoming culture shock and learning the language to raising a family and building a house; and the challenges they faced in the Christian work that they did, challenges that shaped their identities, their policies, and indeed their beliefs in the land of Korea more than a century ago. $45 / KW54,000

Korea Under Colonialism: The March First Movement and Anglo-Japanese Relations. Ku Dae-yeol, RAS-KB, 1985. Hardbound. 350 pp. ISBN 978-89-93699-09-8   Sale price KW10,000

A thorough study on March First Movement, a Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule in 1919, with special emphasis on its international implications and Britain's role in the uprising. $35 / KW42,000

Korea's 1884 Incident: Its Background and Kim Ok-kyun's Dream. Harold F. Cook, RAS-KB, 1982, Softbound. 264 pp. ISBN 978-89-93699-08-1   Sale price KW10,000

A description of an attempted coup aimed at bringing more rapid reform and modernization to Korea in the early years after her opening to the rest of the world and the role of one of the leaders. The work includes an analysis of the situation in 1884 and evaluates the motives of the plotters and the results of the attempt both on the nation and for the individuals. Scholarly, yet exciting reading, and of some insight to political attitudes in Korea even today. $18 / KW22,000

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gangnam Style hits South Park

On last night's episode of South Park, Gangnam Style was heard at a Halloween party where many of the people were dressed as Psy (who is referred to as 'Gaengnam Style'); it's up at Youtube for now:



You do have to wonder how many Psy costumes there will be this Halloween.

How Dokdo Day is celebrated at school

All of the teachers received this message from the vice principal at work today:
Did you know that today is Dokdo Day? I’ve sent you material with Dokdo related songs and video. Today is a day to sing one Dokdo song and impress upon the children once again that Dokdo is our land.
There are several songs in the 170mb folder she sent us, including the 1982 classic "Dokdo is Our Land," the lyrics of which can be read here. Below is a video of the song:



Here are grade 2 elementary school students doing a mass dance with flags to the same song for the biannual sports festival:



It might remind you of the flag waving 'Dokdo Style' dance TaLK program teachers were encouraged to do:

 
 Another song included was this one:
Dokdo is our friend

From ancient times Dokdo has been our friend
From the days of our ancestors Dokdo has been our friend
A place where white seagulls rest
A place where waves beckon
A place where fluffy clouds sing
A place where love dreams
We are glad to be alone
Our precious friend
We will be together for how long
Friend of the nation

It's a very small island, but Dokdo is our friend
It's at the end of the east sea, but Dokdo is our friend
A place where sea wind rests
A place where the foghorn's sound rolls
A place where the blue sky smiles
A place where love dreams
We are glad to be alone
Our precious friend
We will be together for how long
Friend of the nation
Another song is set up in a flash noraebang player which has lyrics at the top and scrolls through photos to the music (of a song called 'We Love Dokdo'). Below is the folder of files, including all of the photos:


Most highlight the beauty of Dokdo, seagulls, the sea, the Korean nation, and the Korean flag, but a few stand out for how they are different:

(Japan) Koizumi monkey
(From a Yugioh card, describing him as the 
standard monster to be caught in Japan)


Do you just want to go? Do you want to die? Dokdo.

'Whoa~ just kidding.'  'Dokdo is our land you bastard!'

Perhaps someone should point out that Koizumi stopped being Japan's Prime Minister six years ago? Perhaps not. Funny how people will tell me with a straight face that in Korea schoolchildren are not taught to hate Japan. Now, I have no proof that anyone actually used any of this material, but that it was sent to all of the teachers in the school by the vice principal is... interesting. At a guess, though, I'd imagine someone else compiled it for her to send out, and it likely is the same material created and compiled years ago that just keeps getting reused.

 I do enjoy the martial spirit of the photo below:


There were also a few videos among the materials as well. One just has scenes of Dokdo, the sea, and seagulls, while another is full of historical facts about Dokdo. The other is rather different, and was made during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and features a song made up of syllables spoken by foreigners who likely had no idea what they were singing or how it would be put together (so that they are singing 'Dokdo is our land').

'Friends from around the world.'

And yes. Here it is. Brace yourself.



So, just in case you're wondering why there is such an emotional component to the Dokdo issue in Korea, the above material might give some clue. Love for Dokdo, and the belief that it is an intrinsic part of not just Korea (ie. 'our land') but also of the Korean race is instilled from a young age in school. In addition to Dokdo Day, there is also Dokdo Studies, a class in which the subject is drilled into the students. I'm not very familiar with what is taught in the class but what I've seen makes me pretty certain that the desire to seek the opinion of foreigners on the subject (and educate them when they say they know nothing about it) is cultivated in the class as well.

Former Tanzanian English teacher in the news

Yesterday the Maeil Sinmun published this report:
After deportation, reenter Korea on another's passport and live as native speaking instructor
5 including a Tanzanian arrested

On October 24 Daegu police booked without detention five people, including A (32), a Tanzanian, for illegally entering the country with a passport issued to him in someone else's name.

According to police, those arrested, from Tanzania, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Cambodia, were deported for illegally staying in Korea and, finding it difficult to return to Korea, they gave local brokers 5 to 10 million won to issue them a passport in the name of another person.

The police investigation revealed that A, who was deported  in December 2009, reentered the country in May 2010 and was a native speaking instructor at an English hagwon in Daegu for three months.
This was also reported by News 1, which also mentioned his job as a native speaking instructor at an English hagwon. What was he doing for the other 26 months? In comparison to him having been a native speaking instructor, I suppose it doesn't matter. To be fair, his other jobs likely didn't involve being around children, but the fact that there's no mention made (by the police?) is interesting, though not unexpected.

In May last year Yonhap reported on a meth bust involving a South African drug mule and a Nigerian in Korea who had worked variously as a factory worker, clothing seller, and illegal English teacher, and chose the title "Former native speaking instructor caught smuggling philopon." A police official was quoted saying "This is the first time that a native speaking instructor has tried to smuggle a large amount of philipon, rather than marijuana," ignoring the fact that Nigerians are usually not included in the immigration defined "native speaker" category in Korea. YTN followed this up later in the day with a report titled "Native speaking teacher arrested for smuggling large amount of Philipon," which effectively erased the South African (the actual smuggler) from the story to focus on the Nigerian who "worked as a native speaking English instructor." This was also similar to a series of stories Yonhap and YTN published in 2009.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A look at prostitution among teen runaways

Back in June the Hanguk Ilbo published this article:
"1 out of 4 runaway teenage girls have experience selling sex"

A survey has found that 1 out of 4 runaway teenage girls have experience selling sex. On the 6th a survey done by the Seoul Happy Sexuality Human Rights Center of 175 teenage girls living at 25 shelters in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do found that 25.% of the girls answered "I have experience selling sex."

Those 14 to 17 years old made up 88.1% of those selling sex, while 'conditional meeting' arranged over the internet, was, at 83.7%, the most common type. As for why they sold sex (multiple answers), 44.2% said "I had no place to sleep," 30.2% answered "I was hungry" and "I was forced."

54.4% said they had experience earning money after running away from home, and among them 55.3% said they earned money in the 'sex industry or by selling sex.' Of those who said they earned money in the 'sex industry or by selling sex,' their experience involved conditional meeting (25.5%), noraebang(10.6%), bodobang (9.6%), Dallan jujeom and room salon (3.2%), kiss bang (3.2%), sex selling gathering place (2.1%), and ticket dabang (1.1%).

Among those who had answered as such, 40.7% had experience of suffering sexual violence, and among those, 37.7% had been sexually assaulted/molested by family members or relatives.

The average age of those who particpated in the survey is 16 years old, 70.8% first ran away from home between the ages of 12 and 15, with the average age being 13.

In order to protect teenaged female runaways who are easily exposed to dangerous situations like sexual violence and selling sex, Seoul will expand its year-round on-the-street nighttime counseling. In particular, 'Drop-in center' support facilities where they can stay temporarily in emergency situations will be established in July.
I'd forgotten I'd translated this at the time until I saw the Hankyoreh's 6 part series on the sexual exploitation of teen runaways. Part 1, titled "Runaways flee abuse at home, end up in prostitution," opens with this introduction:
Last year, more than 20,000 young people ran away from home. That total only represents the cases that were reported to police. As of now, an estimated 200,000 adolescents are living on the streets around the country. Over 60% of the runaways are girls, children who have fled poverty and abuse at home. Roughly half of these girls are believed to be surviving on the streets through prostitution. For all the shock the South Korean public shows when confronted with sex crimes, it turns a blind eye to the kind of sexual exploitation that disadvantaged teenage girls are exposed to on a daily basis.
It's interesting that the number of runaways is that high (200,000). As reported by the Korea Times in 1995, "According to Education Ministry's statistics, the number of runaway students increased to 11,363 [in 1994], a 23 percent hike from 1993. Among them, girls outnumbered boys 5,935 to 5,428." It was later reported that "In 2001, the number of runaways in South Korea reached 61319 youths (23577 males and 37742 females)." The increase at that time was likely due to the fallout from the 1997 financial crisis. In all these cases, the gender split was skewed towards females. (For more such articles from the 1990s, see here).

The Hankyoreh has translated parts one and two of this series, which illustrates pretty clearly why so many female teen runaways rely on prostitution to survive. Each part has several graphs based on the study described in the Hanguk Ilbo above.

 (That should be '13 and younger.')

Part 3 has the following graphs, the first from a survey of 96 female runaways in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do who had sold sex, March-April 2012, asking why they first sold sex:


(From top) No place to sleep, hungry, pressured, wanted to earn money, had no other job, entertainment expenses, as a favor to a friend, despair after being raped, curiosity, other.

The next 4 graphs are from a survey of 175 female runaways in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do, March-April 2012. The first asks what is the most difficult thing after running away:


(Clockwise from orange) Money, depresson/anxiety/frustration, family problems, finding a job, anxiety over the path they've chosen, senior-junior relationship among friends, other.

As for the graphs based on the same survey in part 4, 40% of runaway girls said they had been raped; asked who their first attacker was, 31.7% said friends or boyfriends, 25.7% said relatives or family, 11.9% said a stranger, 9.9% said a neighbour, 5% said someone buying sex, and 15.9% said something other.

Part 5 has a list of teen runaway prostitution by type (clockwise from orange): "Conditional meeting," bodobang/noraebang/kissbang/dallanjujeom, propositioned on street, brothel/massage parlour/ticket dabang, other.


Above is a graph showing the most common paths to prostitution (clockwise from orange): Chatting, introduced by a friend, propositioned on the street, business owner forced them, kidnapped/confined, other.

I should note above that jogeon mannam, or 'conditional meeting,' has basically become the new name for wonjo gyoje, or 'compensated dating', about which I talked a great deal here. Whereas wonjo gyoje was a euphemism specifically for (freelance, often organized through the internet) teen prostitution, 'conditional meeting' is a more general term (mentioned, for instance, here back in 2004). I'd come across an article discussing this shift some time ago but can't offhand remember which it was. It might be "A culture that cultivates the prostitution of teenage girls: based on the experiences of prostitution among teenage girls," the abstract of which is here.

Part 6 has the following two graphs; the first is titled "Assistance needed most by teenage runaways."


Clockwise from orange: Shelter or group home, job, schooling, job training, emotional support, medical aid.

Below is titled "Rape/indecent assault against children and youth 2007-2011."


Above is titled "Number prosecuted for breaking child/youth sexual protection law (via teen prostitution, etc), 2008-Aug. 2012."

Hopefully the Hankyoreh will continue to translate this series. I've been meaning to post about the proposed changes to sex crime laws which have been suggested in the wake of high profile sex crimes against children this year, but there's been so much information it's hard to know where to start. When you see the numbers above and read questions asking why sex crimes against children and teens are so common, well, I'm pretty sure the attitudes which make teen prostitution so common and the reasons children and teens are targeted by rapists are pretty closely related - as is how they are depicted in the media. But that's a post for another day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Herald Gyeongje warns of outbreak of new hostilities in ongoing native speaker - Korean instructor war

Yesterday morning the Herald Gyeongje issued an online report titled "Doing the work of native speaking instructors, discrimination... the stress of 'Korean instructors.'" The article was then retitled and published on page 10 in hard copy yesterday:
Native speaker - Korean instructor conflict is serious

Kim Ju-won (pseudonym, 34) is an instructor at a well known language hagwon in Seoul. These days he is under severe stress due to a native speaking instructor. This is because, compared to native speaking instructors who just have class and play all the time, Mr. Kim has to do all kinds of tasks like cleaning up after/looking after the native speaker.

Korean instructors are burdened every day with taking care of tasks such as hagwon recitals, preparing materials, and counseling parents.

Mr. Kim said, "Preparing for events or counseling parents is more difficult and takes more time than teaching classes."

However, after native speaking instructors finish class, they have free time. Venting, he said, "Native speaking instructors, who earn more than Korean instructors, earn extra income outside of classes through private lessons or phone English at a rate of over 100,000 won per hour." "I was astonished how, on days of hagwon outings, they just showed up and didn't prepare anything."

At English hagwons in Korea, conflict between native speaking instructors and Korean instructors is becoming more frequent. As hagwons only care about inviting native speaking instructors, they are negligent in preparing Korean culture education, cultural understanding or exchanges between instructors.

Female Korean instructor Park Hye-ran (pseudonym, 31) said, "There are also many native speaking instructors who drink at night in places like Itaewon and come to class late or hung over." She also said, "There was a native speaking instructor who went to a law school in the US but I found out he was lying." "Among native speakers who come to Korea, the number of instructors whose resume has been recognized and their ability confirmed is half at most."

Lee Jung-gi (pseudonym, 51) the owner of a Seoul hagwon employing three native speaking instructors, pointed out that, "To hire a native speaker costs at least 3 million won a month per teacher (standard salary). Using a native speaker is hard work for everyone, the hagwon owner and Korean instructors." However, as parents and students prefer native speakers, I have no choice but to reluctantly hire them."
I seem to remember a similarly-titled report about foreign teacher crime back in 2009
(Rep. Lee Gun-hyeon: Native speaking instructor crime is 'serious'), though the statistics which accompanied it showed NSET crime to be 5 times less than the Korean crime rate. Whoops.

And of course, this comes a week or two after the Herald Gyeongje headlined a report on SMOE's foreign hagwon instructor training with "Foreign hagwon instructors: If you do drugs, it's a big deal."

As for the article, it's pretty standard, what with the references to lazy, unqualified drunkards. It's insinuated that foreign teachers are treated too well, what with the Korean teachers having to shoulder the burden of counseling parents all by themselves. Apparently the 'journalist' can't think of a good reason why that burden exists for them alone. As for foreigners making 100,000 won per hour, why would a journalist want to check that 'truth'? Someone with an axe to grind said it, so it must be true! And yes, though the article does actually criticize hagwons, saying they are "negligent" in preparing fostering "cultural understanding," the addition of a hagwon owner at the end is just icing on the cake, because its not his fault either - he's forced to grudgingly hire these foreigners! To complete the article is the requisite 'absent presence' of an interview with a foreign teacher. 

This isn't the first time foreign teachers have been portrayed as causing endless headaches for their Korean coworkers (for example, two years ago New Daily reported on drinking parties during GEPIK orientation and the 'sadaejuui' of schools that "bow down to" foreign teachers, while last year NoCut News reported that though there was 90% satisfaction with foreign teachers, there was also "an explosion of complaints from some support specialist instructors" who said that foreign teachers 'half-heartedly' prepare classes and only chat during class).

However, those articles, like most I've found over the past few years, were about foreign teachers in public schools, not in hagwons. I guess with the public school budget cuts, it's time to start complaining about foreign hagwon instructors again, especially since demand for them is about to increase.

It hasn't been all negative when it comes to foreign hagwon instructors, I should note. Last year Newsis asserted that "Measures are necessary for the protection of native speakers" working in hagwons who are taken advantage of by their employers, and gave examples of such victimization. Anyone selling parkas in Hell did well that day, I'd imagine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

RAS-KB Lecture on "Categorizing Migrants" in Korea tomorrow night

Tomorrow night (October 23), Daisy Y. Kim will be giving a lecture for the Royal Asiatic Society titled "Categorizing Migrants: the Making of Multicultural Society in South Korea."
Until very recently, nation-building in South Korea, whose existence assumes the permanent division of the peninsula following the Korean War, had been based on ethnic homogeneity. Migration trends in the past few decades have challenged the traditional roots of the Korean nation-state. In particular, the prevalence of international marriages between South Koreans and foreign spouses—multicultural families—has debunked the "myth" of ethnic homogeneity. In response to these trends, both state and society have employed the language of multiculturalism to incorporate certain groups of migrants (migrant spouses), while excluding others (migrant workers) through deliberately constructed images and portrayals of migrants in the mass media as well as through politico-ideological apparatuses. By seeing how public and private actors and institutions incorporate migrants in broader Korean society, this lecture explores ways of categorizing and labeling migrants and the consequences in the making of a multicultural society.
I'll definitely be checking it out. More details about the lecture can be found here. The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Residents' Lounge on the 2nd floor of the Somerset Palace in Seoul, which is north of Jogyesa Temple, and is 7,000 won for non-members and free for members.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More cartoons full of needles and gropers

It would appear I jumped the gun on my last post of NSET cartoons to add to the big collection. Most of my image searches were done using Naver, but a Google search or two turned up some new (and fun) cartoons I hadn't seen before.

First up, on October 31, 2009, Sports Seoul published an article titled "Pursuing the reality of sex crimes by foreigners which threaten Korean women." This came out during the post 'Na-young case' furor over sex crimes during which crimes by foreigners were also reported to be a threat (despite their sex crime rate being 5 times less than Koreans') and GNP Rep. Lee Ju-yeong said "Of foreigners, native speaking teachers are especially potential child molesters." Good times. The Sports Seoul article opens with this:
Sex crimes against Korean women by foreigners are rampant. From Southeast Asians who enter the country illegally to earn money, to white native speaking English instructors, foreigners with various nationalities and jobs are committing sex crimes. There isn't much information about the pasts of foreigners who come to Korea, and there is also no small amount of fear that because punishment of sex crimes is lax, sex crimes by foreigners will greatly increase. We've examined the types of sex crimes committed by foreigners.
The article goes on to look at crimes by different groups, and bases its tales of crimes by foreign teachers on Anti English Spectrum and the contents of Choi Hui-seon's articles for Chosun.com from July 2009. I think you might be able to tell who the foreign teacher is in the cartoon below:

A scene from a K-pop video? Apparently not.

On December 1, 2009, Ilyo Sisa published a round up of incidents for that week and included a section titled "A bunch of foreign instructors headed to prison... why? A 'stoned lecture' while on drugs," which reported that there had been a shocking arrest of foreigners who worked in kindergartens and schools, including a regular [employee] instructor at a university and an actor seen on a terrestrial broadcaster. Five were arrested, one booked but not detained, and three more were being pursued for smuggling or taking cocaine or pot cookies in Incheon. (SBS also reported on this bust.)


Now is it just me, or do the last two cartoons look eerily alike?


Other than a few more lines under his eyes and a curved nose in the drug cartoon, the teacher is exactly the same. Was it the same (lazy) artist working for both Sports Seoul and Ilyo Sisa, or did the latter rip off the former? If they could just make a third cartoon with him denigrating Korea in the classroom while holding a fake diploma, they'd pretty much have all the bases covered!

Our next cartoon is also from Ilyo Sisa, in an article titled "Unqualified English instructor who was a former gangster caught; In the US he was a 'murderer', in Korea, a 'teacher.'" It was published on March 30, 2010 after a Korean American Gangster wanted for murder in the US was arrested while working as an English instructor in Korea (which also gave us this cartoon by the Donga Ilbo):

(I didn't realize V was a drug addicted English instructor)

Up next is a cartoon from a Seoul Sinmun article from December 9, 2011, subtitled "American gangsters deported for murder, drugs and gun smuggling became native speaking teachers" (more about that story can be read here):

"Fake diploma; native speaking instructor"

And last but not least is an image taken from a blog (not a newspaper), but which I decided to include because it looks like some kind of creepy muppet.

"I want to eat a hamburger, some salad, and your soul."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This year's collection of foreign teacher cartoons

Having come across a new foreign teacher comic in the form of the devil pot cookie, I came across a few others from this year that I had missed, and decided to catalogue the ones that have appeared this year to add to this massive collection of newspaper cartoons about foreign teachers.

The first cartoon is from a lengthy March 2012 Donga Ilbo article about the effect the disappearance of native speaking teachers would have on public schools in Seoul, and points out at one point that some school districts in the city such as Eunpyeong-gu and Geumcheon-gu have no independent budget for NSETs (outside of funding by the city or SMOE), while Gangnam-gu has 4 billion won set aside for foreign teachers. This is what the cartoon is trying to illustrate, with its flaccid phallus-nosed NSET standing on the money pile of Gangnam-gu.

(I knew foreign teachers slept on beds made of money, 
but flaunting it in the classroom like this is just taking things too far!)

The next image is from a July 2012 Donga Ilbo article titled "University student 'English study tip': A part time job in Itaewon." In it, several students point out that they've killed two birds - the need to study English and make money - with one stone by working in restaurants or bars in Itaewon, Hongdae or Jongno which cater to foreigners. That you can make money and get over your fear of speaking with foreigners is attractive to one student. However, there is a lot of competition for these jobs, and on one job site only 7,000 out of 210,000 jobs would involve serving foreigners.

As well, some people argue that there is little hope of improving your English skills, since there are few opportunities for a server in a restaurant to have an in-depth conversation with a customer beyond simple phrases and questions. The article ends with: "Students working part-time in the area vented their feelings, saying that there are many instances where you could be hurt by drunk, violent foreigners or have your self-respect wounded."

Insert your own caption.

Clearly, in Korea drunken violence and blows to young people's pride could only occur when there are foreigners around. One hopes the above conversation doesn't end 'bitterly' (and with pride wounded) like the ones described here in 2006 (and illustrated on the left with a foreigner thinking about "the girls of Hongdae").



On August 24, 2012, Financial News posted an article titled "Public education 'video English' craze [embraces] native speaking teachers" about the use in school English classes of video chatting with native speakers. At that time, 1,000 students in after school classes at 57 different schools in Gangwon-do were using the program, and there were plans to use it in Gyeonggi-do as well, where the GEPIK program had been drastically cut. This image of a happy little blond-haired fellow accompanied the article; thankfully, he can't actually pop out of the screen like that.


And of course, on October 11, 2012, the Gyeongnam Sinmun offered the following cartoon in an article titled "Foreign kindergarten instructor habitually took drugs" to illustrate the effects of demonic pot cookies upon westerners.


All in all, it seems to have been a slow year for cartoons, but then in 2011 there were only three, so I guess it's picked up a bit. On the bright side, the Donga Ilbo's cartoonist did the 'part time job in Itaewon' cartoon above, and if we combine it with the other two he/she's done and rearrange the order, we're left with a tale of woe:

Tired of students riding his nose all day, unable to find peace even in restaurants, our hero turns to demonweed.


That's all for teacher-related cartoons, but I did enjoy this Chosun Ilbo cartoon (via the Marmot's Hole) representing the head of the Korea society in New York berating a Korean employee for displaying Dokdo pamphlets sent by the Korean Consulate.


Somehow the 'throwing the pamphlets on the floor" part was left out of the article, but that's no reason not to illustrate an American acting all high-and-mighty and insulting Korea. I guess you could be hurt by violent foreigners or have your self-respect wounded even when you work at the Korea Society.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'Keep off the grass' - SMOE holds cultural adaptation classes for foreign hagwon instructors

On October 11 Yonhap, followed by NoCut News, first reported briefly that hundreds of foreign hagwon teachers in Seoul were to receive training as per the 2011 revision to the hagwon law. The Herald Gyeongje decided to spice up its report with a different title and an extra sentence in its opening paragraph:
Foreign hagwon instructors: If you do drugs, it's a big deal ~
Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education foreign hagwon instructor training

Training is being carried out by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) to help its foreign hagwon instructors understand Korean society. There are also special lectures regarding social problems such as foreign instructors using drugs.

SMOE announced October 12th that on October 13 and 27 training would be held to help foreign instructors adapt to Korean culture at the Seoul Education Training Institute in Bangbae-dong and the Yeonji Church 100th Anniversary Memorial Hall in Jongno.

This will be the first training for foreign instructors held by SMOE.

1,673 Seoul area foreign hagwon instructors who entered the country for the first time after July 25 last year are participating.

The training will include foreign instructor-related issues such as understanding Korean culture and society's laws and system, laws that must be followed while they stay in Korea, and drugs.

An amendment to the hagwon law passed in July 2011 calls for foreign hagwon instructors to receive training from the education office or other education instutions more than once after entering the country.
An Asia Today article titled 'SMOE [holds] first training for foreign instructors' leaves the drug references out of its title and opening paragraph, but adds this quotation:
Lifelong education head Yang Gi-hun said, "This will contribute to improving the quality of the instructors and prevent things like drug and sex crimes by making them aware of the differences between Korean culture [and their own]."
The Asia Today article also added this file photo:


To be sure, nothing makes me want to dress up like Joseon-era royalty and 'do the horse dance' than being lectured about not injecting marijuana before class and how, despite all appearances, not molesting children and raping women is a unique part of Korean culture and a wonderful manifestation of 'jeong.' Not that anyone is saying that doing the horse dance was actually a part of these lectures.

It's not that giving a clear, sobering description of Korea's (lack of a) non-alcohol or tobacco-related drug culture, its drug laws, and the penalties for breaking them is necessarily a bad idea - it's a good one. Unfortunately, as the headline above suggests, it likely comes with a good dose of moral superiority and useless information (material I saw for one lecture years ago discussed the 'dangers of marijuana'), as well as ignorance of the fact that, though arrests of foreign teachers for drugs are higher than the Korean average, their 'drug crime wave' is more due to exaggeration by the media than an actual high number of arrests. (Note also that drug testing of foreign teachers has been expanded to half a million foreign workers in Korea after drug crimes by foreigners dropped by two thirds in 2011, showing how little policies aimed at foreigners in this regard have to do with actual statistics or facts.)

Here is what the amendment to the Hagwon Act said regarding the hagwon instructor culture classes:
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.

This part of the Hagwon Law amendment bill (which was a collection of several already existing but as yet unpassed bills) came from a bill tabled by Rep. Jo Jeon-hyeok in 2009. As KBS (via Brian) put it at the time, Rep. Jo 
said most foreign teachers in the nation do not have enough of an understanding about Korea’s culture and practices. He said the revisions are aimed at raising the quality of the nation’s English education programs by mandating that foreign teachers have better knowledge of Korea.

I was curious, though, whether this knowledge was explicitly intended to include drug or sex crime education (the latter which we've seen before). As it turns out, on November 26, 2009, the Kukmin Ilbo talked to Rep. Jo about his plan, which he said would "help improve not just the satisfaction of the parents but also the image of the country."

Rep. Jo's plan (much like Choi Young-hee's) was to amend the school and hagwon laws (though only the hagwon law was amended). This was, he said, because foreign teachers or instructors didn't know the realties of Korea and had a hard time adapting and were unable to carry out appropriate lectures for students.

Rep. Jo pointed out that "In particular, they have aroused public criticism through deviant behavior such as smoking drugs." He also said there were 6,900 native speakers in schools and 55,000 in hagwons, making one wonder who was doing the smoking. [Perhaps 15,000 in hagwons might be correct, though it's not the first time politicians have screwed up statistics.]

Rep. Jo did however feel that the training system could "have the effect of improving the national brand." Getting the numbers wrong again (speaking of 60,000 foreigners), he does say that by helping these foreigners adapt to Korean life they could help promote the traditions and culture of Korea more effectively on a smaller budget than the Korea National Tourism Organization. He also notes that most foreign teachers and instructors are young and educated and are very active in posting on foreign websites and blogs and should be able to spread a good image of Korea.

I'd say he's absolutely right, and that teaching here provides an opportunity for westerners to learn about Korea and communicate their (hopefully positive) experiences to audiences in their home countries in a way that Korean government propaganda could never hope to do. Rep. Jo certainly deserves credit for being one of the few people who seems to get this (or has at least articulated it - see here for another example).

It's just that, why would people want to 'do the horse dance' if they're condescendingly being told that they shouldn't do drugs and molest children because Korea's culture is different than their own? And conversely, why would the Korean government and politicians want people that they've helped paint as unqualified, drug-addicted, child molesting sex criminals doing PR for them?

One certainly hopes it's not because they don't believe any of it themselves and simply perpetuate such stereotypes in order to allow them to pass regulations against an easy target in the hope of being made to look 'effective' in the eyes of voters. I mean, it's not like the MOE ever said anything like, "The continuation [of HIV testing for NSETs] does not mean the government regards foreign teachers to be HIV positive or have the potential of transmission ― it is just intended to assure the parents." Right?

Anyways, has anyone been to any of these training sessions? I'd be curious to learn more about them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Warrant for kindergarten foreign instructor for taking 'devil pot cookies'

On October 11, News 1 issued the following report:
Changwon police arrest foreign native speaking instructor who habitually took drugs

Changwon Central Police Station announced on the 11th that they had arrested P, an American native speaking instructor, for habitually taking smuggled hash oil mixed with food, a violation of the Act on the Control of Narcotics.

According to the police, Mr. A is suspected of making and eating cookies made from hash oil at B Officetel in Seongsan-gu, Changwon, from April until recently.

Police meanwhile announced plans to request a warrant for his arrest [detention] while determining the source of the hash oil.
That opening sentence is interesting, considering there's no proof that it was smuggled. Of course, considering that I can't think of another hash oil arrest that I've ever read of in Korea, it might be safe to assume that it is. Still, the first and last sentences contradict each other, as does calling him 'A' rather than 'P' in the second sentence. Which reminds me (for some odd reason) of a one-off comic strip in a campus magazine (back in Canada) which had one of the shadier Sesame Street characters on the street offering to sell Ernie an 'A', and then another letter, and another, until he finally says, "Hey kid, how about we take this J and roll it." Badump bump. What happened next probably looked like this:

(It's a shame Cookie Monster is absent.)

At any rate, it hasn't been the best year for foreign teachers in Changwon, what with one vandalizing an elevator machinery room and now this. I'm kind of curious how one gets caught taking cookies, though, innocuous-looking as they are.

As it turns out, it was Newsis that broke the story with an article titled "Warrant for kindergarten foreign instructor for taking 'Marijuana cookies'", explaining in more detail that the perp was a 42 year old American who entered the country in January 2009 and worked at a hagwon until last October, when he began working at a kindergarten. Police say that from April 10 to September 10 (6 months, Newsis assures us) he ate 3cm by 4cm pot cookies in his officetel, a fact apparently determined by the results of a hair test by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. Mr. A apparently told police he bought the hash oil from foreigners somewhere in Busan, but police found that he'd gone to the US in December 2010 and November 2011, and assume he smuggled it into the country that way. [Which makes sense - the only reason a foreigner would return to their home country would be to smuggle drugs.] Police, as always, are expanding their investigation. Still, we have no idea how he was caught.

This was reported by a few other papers and news outlets. Asia News' headline was "Foreign English instructor in his 40s caught taking 'marijuana cookies,'" but this was topped by the Maeil Gyeongje's "And the cookie the kindergarten foreign instructor was eating the whole time was...". Now that's a headline that inspires suspicion and urges constant supervision. Even better is this article by the Gyeongnam Sinmun, titled "Foreign kindergarten instructor habitually took drugs," not because of these paragraphs -
It's known that hash oil is a substance made of concentrated marijuana, and contains 3-4 times more THC than regular marijuana, making it a much stronger hallucinogen.

Marijuana cookies have almost no smell and because most people can't tell they are a drug, as they are in the form of food, they are easy to take without anyone knowing, an advantage that is known to be often abused.
- but because of this cartoon:


That's just awesome. I think the foreign teacher on the right is more convincingly drawn. And, hey, demons want their pot cookies as well.

There have been other cartoons with demonic drug connections published before, of course.


And we can't forget this one (though it lacks a demonic element - unless you count that phallic nose as a horn):


Still, I can't help but wonder if this should be the new header for the blog...


I'll save connecting this image to Japanese WWII propaganda for another day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

40% of public school native speakers are... unqualified

I've already posted about the foreign and Korean teacher crime statistics and native speaking English teacher school placement statistics which have come to light during parliamentary inspections of government ministries.

On September 24, Newsis published an article with a familiar refrain:
4 out of 10 native speaking English assistant teachers are unqualified
   
It has come out that 4 out of 10 native speaking English assistant teachers do not have qualifications.

On the 24th, National Assembly Education, Science and Technology committee member Min Byeong-ju (Saenuri Party) revealed that according to "The status of native speaking English assistant teachers in 2012", a document submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, out of 8,520 native speaking English assistant teachers, 3,671 or 43.1% do not have qualifications.

Among those with qualifications, those with TESOL, TEFL or CELTA made up 50% of the total number of teachers (4257), while those with teaching qualifications from their own countries made up only 8.7% (740).

By region, Gangwon-do had the highest rate of those without qualifications with 66.1%, followed by Jeollanam-do with 61.5% and Jeju with 57.4%.

The areas with the highest rate of qualification holders was Ulsan with 71.5%, Gyeonggi with 67.2%, Daegu with 64.6%, Incheon with 64.3%, Busan with 62.8%, and Seoul with 60.0%.

By country of origin, the U.S. had the most with 4524 people (54.0%), followed by Canada with 1302 (15.5%), the U.K. with 949 (11.3%), South Africa with 942 (11.2%), and Ireland with 270 (3.2%). 51 (0.6%) were Korean gyopos or those with dual citizenship.

There are also two Indian nationals employed on a trial basis, having come from a country where English is an official language and possessing English teacher credentials.

To be a native speaking English assistant teacher, it required that one be from one of seven countries where English is the mother tongue (United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa).  Korean gyopos must have been permanent residents in one of these countries since at least the seventh grade and lived there more than 10 years.

Rep. Min pointed out that "While they can't all be seen as unqualified teachers because they lack qualification certificates, during this time some have caused problems due to inappropriate speech or acts from time to time, and because of this we should strengthen employment standards to prevent harm from coming to students."
That last sentence started out so well.

Four hours later, Newsis published an update with a slightly softer title ("4 out of 10 native speaking English assistant teachers do not have qualifications") and two paragraphs with the Ministry of Education's viewpoint at the end (which simply reiterate the qualifications NSETs and gyopos need):
A Ministry of Education official explained in regard to this that "The requirements for native speaking English assistant teachers are that they come from countries that speak English as their first language, that they graduated from university and have have a bachelor's degree or higher qualification or its equivalent." "There are no requirements for native speaking English assistant teachers working in elementary, middle and high schools to have [teaching] licenses."
On September 25, the Chungcheong Ilbo reported on this and focused on Chungcheong province and Daejeon.
Half of native speaking English teachers are 'unqualified'
 
Out of 1179 native speaking English teachers in Chungcheong-do 548 (46.4%) do not have qualification certificates. [...] In Chungcheongbuk-do's case, among 344 NSETs, 136 have qualification certificates, while in Chungcheongnam-do, the figure is 323 (55.2%) out of 585 NSETs, and in Daejeon, among 250 NSETs, 142 (56.8%) have qualifications.
The province seems happy enough that they've just placed 4 Chinese native speakers in Chungcheong-do schools as assistant Chinese teachers. I have no idea what qualifications they require (but assume they are E-2 visas).
On September 25, the Jeju Ilbo reported on the situation in Jeju.
In Jeju, 6 out of 10 native speaking English assistant teachers have 'no qualifications'
101 out of 176 have no qualifications, and only 15 have teaching licences from their home countries
It's come out that among native speaking English assistant teachers placed in the Jeju area, almost 6 out of 10 do not have qualification certificates.

On the 24th, National Assembly Education, Science and Technology committee member Min Byeong-ju (Saenuri Party) revealed that according to "The current status of native speaking English assistant teachers' qualifications by area", a document submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, as of the end of April this year, out of 176 native speaking English assistant teachers in the province, 101 or 57.4% do not have qualifications.

Among the 75 people (42.6%) with qualification certificates, 66 have TESOL, TEFL, or CELTA certificates, 15 have teaching licenses from their home countries, and 6 have both licenses and certificates.
 The solution to this problem seems simple enough: Require teachers to possess one of these certificates. That they don't suggests that the government - and much of the private sector - has always been concerned more with quantity over quality. Not that this is surprising, in Korea or anywhere else.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Korea’s Responses to AIDS

Tonight Sister Miriam Cousins will be giving a lecture for the Royal Asiatic Society titled "Korea’s Responses to AIDS":
Tonight’s speaker is uniquely well placed to tell us about the history of AIDS in Korea and the varying responses to it here. She will begin with a general introduction to HIV/AIDS, focusing on how it is spread, who the most vulnerable people are. Then she will survey the situation regarding HIV/AIDS in Korea, both among Korean people and among foreigners. A major issue everywhere concerns the availability of treatment, once a person has been found to be infected with the HIV virus. There are treatments now available that can prolong life for those infected almost indefinitely, but they must be begun at an early stage. Very often, those most at risk avoid being tested and by the time they are diagnosed they have developed full-blown AIDS and it is too late to do much for them. Sister Miriam has played a leading role in developing new forms of Christian ministry for PLWHA (people living with HIV/AIDS) and she will speak of her work in establishing shelters for people who have lost their jobs and been rejected by their families and communities because they have HIV/AIDS. 
More details about the lecture and Sister Miriam Cousins' interesting career can be found here. The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Residents' Lounge on the 2nd floor of the Somerset Palace in Seoul, which is north of Jogyesa Temple, and is 7,000 won for non-members and free for members.

Monday, October 08, 2012

1 in 5 schools have no foreign teachers

As I mentioned in this post, this is the season of parliamentary audits of government ministries, and all sorts of statistics have been brought to light, even in the case of foreign teachers. The contents of this September 21 Yonhap article turned up in about 9 articles:
18% of schools nationwide have no native speaking English teacher
Seoul to cut all NSETs in middle and high schools by next year... Students per teacher average of 799

At elementary, middle and high schools nationwide 2 out of 10 schools have no native speaking assistant English teacher.

According to data received from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,  National Assembly Education, Science and Technology Committee member Rep. Min Byeong-ju (Saenuri Party) said that as of April 30 of this year, of 11,368 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide, native speaking assistant English teacher were not placed at 2,065 (18.17%) schools.

Among these, Gyeonggi-do had the lowest placement rate, with 798 out of 2,200 schools (36.27%) lacking NSETs, followed by Incheon (29.30%), Jeollabuk-do (26.69%), and Gyeongsangnam-do (23.58%).

Out of 1,290 elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul, 1,126 (87.29%) are equipped with NSETs, but according to Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Policy, middle and high schools will see all NSETs reduced by next year.

It was found that the average student to NSET ratio nationwide is 799. In Gyeonggi-do the ratio is 1,147, and Jeollanam-do,  Incheon and Gwangju all have over 1,000 students per NSET.

On the other hand, the student to teacher ratios in Gyeongsangbuk-do (475), Chungcheongnam-do (482), Jeju-do (500), and Gangwon-do (506) were relatively smaller.

Among the 8,520 native speaking English assistant teachers placed nationwide, the number belonging to employment Level 1 or 1+, the 'excellent [pay] level,' is 1,602 (28.7%).

Employment level 1 is for instructors with more than two years of education experience who hold a master's degree, teaching licence or English education certificate, or who have a major related to English education. Level 1+ is for Level 1 teachers who have good classroom performance who have worked for a city or provincial office of education for more than 2 years.

By region, Gangwon-do has the highest rate of teachers at the excellent level, with 59.5% of assistant teachers placed there at those levels. Gyeongsangnam-do, Gwangju, and Jeollanam-do had between 38.3 and 46.1%, respectively, and Seoul has 30.7%.

Since native speaking English assistant teachers were first introduced in 1995, opinions have varied between those claiming they help strengthen public English education, and those claiming that the actual effect they have is low compared to the cost of attracting excellent personnel like those with teaching licences.
To see statistics from previous years for comparison, those from 2010 (when they were incorrectly used paint 50+% of foreign teachers in public schools as contract breakers who disrupt English education) are here, while those from 2011 are here. The drop in Gyeonggi-do's ranking is of course from the massive budget cuts for NSETs there.

There were also several articles looking at foreign teachers' qualifications. I'll look at those tomorrow.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Update on Christopher Paul Neil

After being arrested by police upon arrival in Vancouver, the outcome of Neil's hearing was reported on Wednesday:
A British Columbia man convicted in Thailand for sexually abusing children has been set free in Canada, but a judge has imposed strict public safety conditions on the pedophile once dubbed Swirl Face.

Christopher Neil must be watched for the next 18 months to prove he's not a danger, provincial court Judge Patrick Chen ruled Wednesday in Richmond, B.C.

Neil's lawyer told court the 37-year-old former English teacher would willingly follow the restrictions.[...]

Some of the conditions Neil is ordered to abide by include surrendering his passport, staying away from places where children under 16 would congregate and not having access to the Internet. He must also remain in B.C., frequently check in with a probation officer and attend a treatment centre.
 18 months seems a rather short time, though I wonder what the longest possible term could be. It also mentions Cambodian police may be interested in Neil, and the possibility of extradition exists.

Friday, October 05, 2012

New crime stats for teachers, both Korean and foreign

Yesterday Yonhap published the following report:
In 3 years 15 native speaking English teachers commit crimes...drugs most common

Among native speaking assistant English teachers placed in elementary, middle and high schools nationwide, 15 have committed crimes over the past 3 years.

According to material submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to National Assembly Education, Science and Technology committee member  Rep. Lee Hak-jae (Saenuri party) during the parliamentary audit, from 2010 to June 2012 15 native speaking assistant English teachers were punished for various crimes, it was announced on October 4.

By year, 11 were caught in 2010, two in 2011, and two in the first half of this year.

Native speaking assistant English teacher crime involved drugs the most, with 5 caught for drug crimes; 2 were arrested and charged, while 3 were charged but not detained. One teacher was caught for assault, another for theft, and another for a sex crime, while 6 others [SIC] committed other crimes.

13 teachers had their contracts canceled by their schools, while two got warnings.
I would imagine that single sex crime to be the teacher who fled from Daegu in 2010 and was extradited back to Korea in April before being sentenced to 4 years in prison in September. This story was reported by three other outlets, with SBS adding this cute little photo:


The reason for these statistics coming out is because 'tis the season for parliamentary audits of government ministries. Here's another article from Yonhap, also published yesterday:
Rep. Kim Sang-hui: "65% of teachers with sex crimes on record continue to work"

It's come to light that more than 6 out of 10 teachers who have committed sex crimes are still in classrooms.

According to material submitted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to National Assembly Education, Science and Technology committee member Rep. Kim Sang-hui (Democratic United Party), from 2008 to June 2012 135 teachers were punished for sex crimes, it was announced on October 4.

The number of crimes continuously increased from 21 in 2008 to 31 in in 2009, 33 in 2010, and 42 in 2011, and then decreased with only 8 crimes punished in the first half of this year.

Out of the 135 teachers punished for sex crimes, 41 were dismissed and removed from the classroom, while the remaining 81 (65%) faced demotions, suspensions, pay cuts, reprimands or cautions and are still working.

In particular, of 56 teachers who committed sex crimes against minors such as students, 20 faced disciplinary action such as suspensions, pay cuts or reprimands.

It was also found that among those who faced disciplinary action, 9 received pay cuts or reprimands when, in the case of those who commit sex crimes against minors, the lowest punishment is "suspension," in violation of regulations regarding displinary action against public education personnel.

Of 18 teachers caught for prostitution, they all received disciplinary action such as reprimands or pay cuts except for one who was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

Rep. Kim insisted that, "In order to protect our children, we should strip soul-destroying, inhumane criminals who commit sexual violence against minors of their teaching qualifications, not wink at the problem with disciplinary measures."
That article is only talking about Korean teachers. The stats in the above article are a little different from those in a Chosun Ilbo article from October 2, in which Rep. Elisa Lee puts the number of sex crimes by teachers at 145 in total, with 22 in 2008, 31 in in 2009, and 33 in 2010, to 42 in 2011, and 17 crimes in the first half of this year.

It says that by region, Seoul had the most sex crimes committed by teachers (25), Gyeonggi-do and Incheon each had 15, Jeollabuk-do, 13, Jeollanam-do, 12, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do and Gangwon-do each had  9, Gwangju, 8, Chungcheongnam-do and Daegu each had 7, Daejeon and Busan each had 4, Chungcheongbuk-do and Ulsan each had 3, and Jeju had 2. While this is not a lot compared to other occupations, the article said that, considering their mandate to educate children, something needs to be done to deal with this growing trend of sex crimes.

By type of crime, there were many cases of sexual harassment of other teachers and parents as well as molestation and sexual assault of underage students. One teacher in Jeollabuk-do sexually assaulted an elementary school student with an intellectual disability. There were also teachers caught buying sex in illegal massage parlors. A high school teacher in Seoul was fired for raping his relative, and an elementary school teacher in Gwangju was caught red-handed secretly photographing women's private parts with his cell phone camera while on the subway. Even worse, there was also a high school teacher who indecently assaulted a female police officer but was only charged with unlawful interference with an officer on duty.

The punishment of teachers who committed sex crimes varied, however. An elementary school teacher in Gangwon-do who molested a student was fired, while a private middle school teacher in Gyeongsangnam-do who committed the same crime only had his pay cut for two months. Rep. Lee said that "It's a terrible thing that a teacher who committed a sex crime is teaching children." "There should be strong disciplinary action for teachers who commit sex crimes so that they cannot return to school."

I doubt few people would argue with that.

And yet in the fall of 2009 Rep. Choi Young hee (who authored a bill which was incorporated into the Hagwon law amendment last year) complained that teachers were being let off too easily for sex crimes, with nearly 60% getting only reprimands.
A total of 124 sexual crimes involving elementary and secondary school teachers were reported to the education authorities between 2006 and 2009. Among them, 47 involved prostitution, 43 were sexual harassment and five were rape cases. However, only eight teachers (6 percent) were given prison sentences, while 31 were not indicted and 28 received suspended sentences.

"It seems that teachers were exempt from punishment through out-of-court settlements with the parents of the victims," Rep Choi said. "Moreover, each city and provincial education offices, which were supposed to strictly punish those teachers, gave only verbal warnings. Only 21 teachers were fired for sexual violence."[...]


"We expect higher levels of ethics from teachers, but courts and education authorities are too merciful to problematic ones," Choi said.
Rep. Choi's comments in 2009 took place in the aftermath of the 'Nayoung incident,' which caused outrage at the lax sentence given to a man in his 50s  for brutally raping an 8 year old girl, so it's not like there wasn't a great deal of interest at the time (a time made more interesting by certain national assembly representatives who described foreign teachers as "especially potential child molesters"). And yet here we are, 3 years later, with still the same problem, with the majority of teachers who commit sex crimes still in classrooms. In fact, the statistics suggest it is a growing problem. A post about that problem in particular with have to wait for another day.