Friday, August 26, 2011

English education professor calls for government to manage foreign instructors

On August 19, the Hankook Ilbo published an opinion column by Gang Yong-gu, Professor of English Education at Gongju University, titled "The management of foreign instructors is the responsibility of the government."

To very briefly summarize his meandering piece, in it he notes that recently the national assembly and government expanded the administration and quality of education by passing an amendment to the hagwon law on June 28 that had been postponed for two years (the amendment includes regulations for fees and operating hours, among other things).

One problem he notes is that it's hard to know who is teaching at or operating the hagwons, and gives the example of the Korean American wanted for attempted murder who either taught or ran a hagwon for ten years in Gangnam. He conveniently forgets the identity theft that allowed the man to get away with his schemes for so long:
This hagwon instructor reminds us of the need for quality management of foreign instructors in particular. Above all, there is a surge of anxiety when one sometimes comes across reports of drug and sex crimes by foreign instructors.
One hopes such anxiety also exists when he comes across reports of sex crimes by any instructors or teachers. He then declares that the government's most basic responsibility is to ensure the safety and well being of its citizens and that the safety of children should not be left to the hagwon owner's association and local groups. He continues:
I especially want to give attention to the training foreign instructors are obliged to undergo in the national assembly's amendment to the hagwon law. Until now, pure (순수한) foreigners had to receive an E-2 visa to work as foreign language instructors in our country's hagwons. To get an E-2 visa one has to pass through in-depth verification such as criminal record checks, health confirmation, in-depth interviews, and after entering the country a blood test to determine whether drugs have been taken. However, in reality, of the approximately 25,000 foreign instructors working in our country's hagwons, slightly more than half, or about 15,000 have received an E-2 visa. The remaining 10,000 are illegal instructors. Even if training for foreign instructors is mandatory, this problem cannot be solved.
And of course he ends by talking about the need to take care with issues related to the safety of children.

I'll have to dig up this amendment to see what has been changed, and what this training will entail.

And, you know, he was so close there when he said that only 15,000 hagwon instructors have E-2 visas (not sure where he got the 25,000 figure from), but then dropped the ball when he said the remainder were illegal. One wonders why the uck the letter F is never used in discussions of visas for foreign instructors.


Anonymous said...

Unless the new enhanced drug tests have changed things, it's a urine test. The blood test is for HIV (and syphilis if you're being tested for a public school job).

Where's the 15,000 number for E-2 visas coming from? Last count we were at 23,000.

matt said...

I imagine they're calculating 15,000 E2s being in hagwons based on the statistic of there being 8000 foreign teachers in public schools (but not taking into account non E-2 visa holders included in the public school figure, or the 1000 or so non-English teaching E-2 visa holders).

Anonymous said...

If only there was a visa system in place so that the Korean government could regulate who gets to come over here and teach English.

Perish the thought.