Thursday, July 21, 2011

An update to 'The Achievements of Anti English Spectrum'

Below is an update to this post translating Anti English Spectrum's list of accomplishments, which can be found here in Korean (first result):

2009 September
In preparation for a National Assembly parliamentary audit, we received a request for cooperation with data from the members of the education committee. We submitted data such as a list if unfit instructors and problems with and alternatives to measures related to administering them. At the request of the auditing institution we submitted a list of unfit instructors.

[Who knows if this had anything to do with GNP Rep. Park Min-sik saying, "The flood of unqualified native speaking teachers is the Government’s responsibility," or GNP Rep. Lee Ju-yeong saying, "Of foreigners, native speaking teachers are especially potential child molesters" during the parliamentary audit that fall.]

Interviews with MBC radio "Kim Mi-hwa's Our World" and the TBS traffic broadcast "Seoul Plaza." [Due to] the serious problems with unfit foreign instructors and gaps in their management, we requested that the marijuana test be included again in the in the E-2 visa. [We were] interviewed about solutions and awakened the attention of citizens to our group's achievements.

2009.10 - 2010.02
We stood up to the native speaking instructors' distorted and biased article about the "Citizens for upright English education." We conducted media activities to correct the distortion. Native speaking teachers recognized that citizen institutions support our group.
Korea Herald: "One year later, ATEK struggles for recognition" [See also the first post here, titled "We declare victory in the struggle".]
MBC Son Seok-hui Attention focus (mini interview)
2010.02.05 Donga Ilbo: "Is the 'Movement to Expel Bad English Teachers' stalking?" [Korean, English]
We forced the deletion of the foreign instructors' one-sided article.

[No they didn't. They threatened to sue the paper, which removed the images taken from AES's website that were originally published, but the article they're referring to is still here.]

2010.03.22 - 24
CBS "Kim Hyunjung's News Show" interview, MBN Live Today interview
Let citizens know about measures against and examples of harm [caused by] the problem of native speaking instructors' molestation of children.
'[Should] foreigners [who commit] sex crimes be deported?' Interview on the subject of CCTV installation. Interviewed live on the topic of 'What is the cause of native speaking teachers being unfit teachers?'

[A transcript of the CBS interview is here. I'll get around to translating it someday.]

Gangster English instructor arrested for drugs and murder.
Cooperating with institutions for three months led to the arrest of a murdering, drug selling, degree-forging native speaking instructor. It led to 8 related English teachers being arrested.
We let citizens know about the problems of verifying native speaking instructors and national immigration policy. Public broadcasters YTN, SBS, KBS, and MBC all broadcast reports.

[Oddly enough they make no mention that Ronald Rhee, the teacher above wanted for murder in the US who was eventually extradited, had dual citizenship and was not subject to E-2 visa (or any visa) rules. Not deterred by this, several newspapers published (without direct AES influence) articles with titles like "The country where murderers and drug criminals teach English", "The Seriousness of Foreign Teachers’ Ugly Double Lives Cannot Be Measured", "It Doesn’t Matter Even if English Teachers are Criminals?", as well as an article calling for Choi Young-hee's bills to be passed.]

Immigration amendment (submitting fingerprints and photos) passes in the National Assembly. Since the beginning of 2005 we have [tried to] raise awareness of the issue of unfit native speaking instructors [with] arrest[ing?] national institutions and each part of society [in regard to] the seriousness of managing native speaking instructors and have constantly raised the question of fingerprinting. The ministry of justice legalized the submitting of fingerprints and photographs by foreigners and foreign instructors.

Interview on SBS radio show "Seo Du-won's SBS Viewpoint" about the dangers and child sex crimes of native speaking teachers and measures to prevent them. Stressed that E-2 visa be strengthened and a federal criminal record check included.

[A transcript of the interview is translated here.]

The ministry of justice announces that E-2 visa requirements have been strengthened, and the native speaking instructors' movement to abolish the AIDS test was blocked. We achieved through our effort the strengthening of the E-2 visa for citizens. [We] made possible the re-inclusion of the marijuana test, the requiring of federal criminal record checks, and the continuance of the AIDS test.

[They link to (but do not take credit for) this NoCut News article, which is translated at the bottom of this post, and which asserts that "deviant and criminal acts by foreign teachers have become common."]

"Are native speaking teachers introduced to Korean culture through drinking parties?" [Korean, English] Article about problems with the Gyeonggi Education Office's GEPIK native speaking instructor training program (drinking party) and examples of the problems and harm to Korean teachers caused by unfit native speaking assistant teachers.

Through an education broadcast we blocked the false propaganda of the native speaking instructor group. On the EBS morning special (English education lecture) program we blocked the native speaking instructor's political plot and blocked the goal of native speaking teachers to have access to student listeners. [More information about the program can be found here (first result)]

In the Seoul area native speaking instructors were arrested for smoking drugs. For 45 days we cooperated with institutions and brought about the arrest of a native speaking teacher working at an elementary school. The investigation is under way as police try to ascertain how many accomplices bought drugs from or smoked drugs with this instructor.

[This refers to this arrest in April, the first reported foreign teacher drug arrest in nine months. A May 21 post at their site has more details (first result).]

2011 April - July
The Gyeonggi Education Office bans instructors from bringing alcohol to native speaking instructor training. An article exposed the excessive drinking at the Gyeonggi Education Office's 2010 GEPIK native speaking instructor orientation and demanded the relevant institutions rectify this. The Gyeonggi Education Office prepared a guideline banning instructors from bringing alcohol from April 2011.

[More about this was mentioned here.]

2011, mid-July
Meeting with 1000 university students from four Seoul universities, making them aware of the truth about native speaking instructors and the harm to university students caused by the native speaking instructors' generous and undeserved benefits. Meetings with university students outside Seoul are scheduled.


Looking at their listed accomplishments, one could decide that certain policy decisions or arrests had nothing to do with them and that they are just padding their list by claiming victories that aren't theirs. It's certainly possible. However, I'm not sure what's more disturbing: The idea that a xenophobic group is successfully pushing its agenda in the media and among lawmakers, or that these lawmakers are pursuing a similar agenda without any prodding (or only based on media reports, some of which indisputably include AES).

One thing is for certain: The re-inclusion of the marijuana tests, the requiring of federal criminal record checks, and the continuance of HIV testing for E-2 visa holders are things AES has been calling for for some time, and they've gotten exactly what they wanted.

The question is, having succeeded in strengthening the E-2 visa, where do they go from here? It may be possible to discern the direction AES is beginning to head in, but I'll discuss that further when looking at their new mission statement.

One thing is for certain, though: they're going to be absolutely thrilled with this.


Anonymous said...

Odd news coming out of Gyeonggi considering the Presidential Council on Nation Branding lists putting a "native speaker" in every Gyeonggi school as one of the President's "major projects".

“In education, the President is planning to implement a program where all English course in middle and secondary schools will be taught in English only. Gyeonggi Province will ensure by 2010 that every school in the province has native speakers as teaching assistants, and it will implement English-language classes by 2011. These efforts are aimed at training students in English, as well as removing the need for the children to take extra classes in the language at private institutions." ("What are some of President Lee Myung-bak’s major projects for improving Korea?":)

The unnamed SMOE official in that KT article seems to indicate it's mission accomplished as far as some of those goals since "the recruitment of native speakers has helped improve the language skills of Korean teachers and enhance the quality of lessons for students." A unique statement considering the generally negative appraisal of these teachers' efforts in the schools and high praise for all the foreign teachers they are laying off, even if it was "said on condition of anonymity."

Anonymous said...

So once again, hundreds of college-educated foreigners learn an important lesson: South Korea does not honor legally binding contracts.

And for all of the joy AES gets out of this, they should consider that statistically some of these folks are going to find careers in government and/or the diplomatic core.

No amount of anti-foreigner stereotyping will change this, and once again "Brand Korea" takes it in the shorts.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

Wait... what was that last point they claimed... what exactly were they telling uni students?

matt said...

The news about the GEPIK cuts deserves a closer look, but I'm going to do several related posts first before addressing it. Worth noting though is that GEPIK planned to cut 200 teachers, so cutting 800 is a bit of a surprise. I'm sure there's more to the story than has been revealed (NoCut News has a little more information).

I have my doubts that AES really cares. When KORETTA, the precursor to EPIK started in 1995, there were numerous problems like unpaid teachers and broken contracts. It seems things have regressed 16 years.

Darth Babaganoosh:
AES is suggesting to students that the funds to lower university tuition might come from cutting them from another area. I'm sure you can guess what that is. I'll have a post up on this soon.