With the growing number of interracial families in Korea, schools need more teachers who are well-trained in taking care of multicultural children, educationalists say. Changing the education environment for a multicultural society needs to start from elementary schools, they add.It's nice to see the president of what is considered to be Korea's best teacher's university planning for the future and preparing for the challenges that mixed race children will face. Mind you, it seems foreign children don't seem to get the consideration mixed-race Korean children do:
Seoul National University of Education (SNUE), a higher education institute that specializes in fostering primary school teachers, has taken the lead in creating various programs to deal with the surge of mixed children into elementary schools.
Song Kwang-yong, president of the university, explained the school's "Triangle Partnership" program, which centers on setting up a successful multicultural education environment at primary schools.
"Interracial children are rapidly increasing and elementary schools are the first to be affected by this trend. Our university should be the first to change, and our school is the first to introduce multicultural education programs among Korean universities," Song said in an interview with The Korea Times at his office last Thursday.[...]
Under the programs, teachers receive orientation on how to take better care of children from interracial households, and bilingual teachers are being taught how to efficiently communicate with children from immigrants.[...]
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the number of children from multicultural families in Korea has more than tripled over the past three years up to 18,778 last year from 6,121 in 2005.
Many of the children have difficulties adapting to schools while around 15 percent of them stop attending schools and instead opt to give up their studies. With this problematic situation, the ministry has allotted about 5.8 billion won ($4.6 million) to the project this year.
According to the Education, Science and Technology Ministry, 1,402 of 17,000 children of migrant workers attend school – 981 in elementary, 314 in middle, and 107 in high school. This means that most of the children are being left uneducated.As the Korea Times continues,
Song also stressed that Korean teachers should replace native English-speaking teachers as soon as possible. "Currently, only 20.5 percent of native English speaking teachers (at schools) have teaching licenses (according to data from the Education Ministry, November 2008), so it is urgent for us to foster teachers who have excellent English proficiency," Song said.Before reacting to this, it's worth considering a few things. In September of last year, Song was also quoted in an article titled "The role of universities is important for regional development," saying that he was thankful for the help provided by native speaking teachers employed in Seoul schools but that Korea couldn’t rely only on native speaking teachers. He also said that it would be more efficient to invest in SNUE’s teacher training than in bringing in native speaking teachers. There's no mention of unqualified teachers and their sexual harassment and drug use.
"The native speakers are not qualified and are often involved in sexual harassment and drugs."
Most importantly, it should be noted that the article was written by Kang Shin-who. I've written about him before, looking at how he repeatedly made incorrect assertions that managed to drive a wedge between E and F visa holders. I also mentioned these two cases:
It may be worth noting that Brian in Jeollanam-do has reported that statements attributed to Park Nahm-sheik in an article by Kang from April ["Some English speakers don't have much affection toward our children because they came here to earn money and they often cause problems''] were said to have been mistranslated or taken out of context, according to people close to Park. I wasn't surprised when I read Brian's post, as I had not had any luck finding his statements in Korean.He also took a press release by ATEK about the election of their new president and turned it into a platform for Anti-English Spectrum. Another more creative look at his body of work is here.
Another article by Kang from March this year has the supervisor of the Incheon education office, Koo Young-sun, on record saying that, "Many foreign teachers lack teaching methodology and some of them are not ethically qualified to treat children." A Yonhap article on the same topic (in Korean) has no mention of these controversial statements from the supervisor.
I don't know if ATEK or anyone else feels like taking it up, but I think it would be worth checking with SNUE president Song's office to see if he actually said these things. If he did, he should be criticized for it, and if he didn't then Kang Shin-who should be made accountable for it.