Monday, February 13, 2012

Chungcheongnam-do to require teaching certificates for all NSETs

On February 8, Daejeon City Journal published the following article:
More than half of Chungcheongnam-do native speaking teachers do not have teaching certificates.

Chungcheongnam-do office of education pushing for 100% of native speaking teachers to have teaching certificates.

It's been revealed that over 50% of native speaking assistant teachers placed in Chungcheongnam-do area elementary, middle and high schools do not meet the provincial office of education's enhanced employment standard of having teaching certificates.

Accordingly, the Chungcheongnam-do office of education plans to have all native speaking assistant teachers placed in the province have teaching certificates by the end of the year.

▲ File photo

According to the Chungcheongnam-do office of education on the 8th, there are 586 native speaking assistant teachers from the 7 countries which use English working in Chungcheongnam-do.

The Chungcheongnam-do office of education strengthened the 'native speaking assistant teacher employment standard' to prevent harm to students caused by inappropriate words and behavior and controversy over qualifications of some native speaking assistant teachers.

According to the strengthened standards, native speaking assistant teachers must possess more than one certificate out of a choice of a teaching certificate obtained in their home country and certificates which recognize English instruction ability like TESOL, TEFEL, or CELTA.

However, at the moment, out of 586 native speakers in the Chungcheongnam-do area, 206 have these certificates, leaving half who do not.

The office of education explained that around 80 undergraduates with scholarships have been supported and placed by the government as native speakers, and that, including the number of native speaking teachers supported by local governments, there are university students who do not yet have teaching certificates. [These would be part of the TALK program.]

An office of education official said, "Out of the total number of native speaking instructors, there are 291 affiliated with the office of education. More than 200 of these have teaching certificates, and by the end of the year 100% of teachers placed will have teaching certificates." "We are asking that city and county governments cooperate in supporting native speaking instructors with teaching certificates."
Typically, it's a misleading title, as the last paragraph reveals. The office of education official makes clear the 'end of the year' deadline is only for teachers directly affiliated with the office, and not (necessarily) for those hired by local governments. As it turns out, the figure of 206 is also not really correct either (or it won't be in two weeks). A Jungdo Ilbo article says 206 have certificates now, but with 51 new hires and 22 people who recently obtained certificates who didn't have them last year, the number will increase to 279. Hence in two weeks 279 out of 291 of the teachers the office is directly focusing on will have certificates. Not quite the 'less than half' (for those under the direct control of the education office) the headline touts. As well, the Jungdo Ilbo adds that the teachers currently in the province are 325 Americans, 115 South Africans, 63 Canadians, 44 British, 18 Australians, 13 New Zealanders, and 8 from Ireland. However, it makes no mention of 'more than one' certificate being needed. I'd tend to imagine, though, if 22 people "recently obtained certificates who didn't have them last year" (and did this by not leaving the country), a TESOL certificate is probably enough.

Yonhap, which broke the story earlier that day, reported that "Currently there are 279 people with a teaching certificate obtained in their home country and a certificate which recognizes English instruction ability like TESOL, 'TEFEL,' or CELTA." So it seems to suggest that both are needed, and uses the figure of 279, making it clearer that Daejeon City Journal went out of its way to choose the lowest figure. As for a paragraph in the latter paper, Yonhap reports that it was a quotation:
A provincial office of education official said, "We strengthened the 'native speaking assistant teacher employment standard' to prevent harm to students caused by inappropriate words and behavior and controversy over qualifications of some native speaking English teachers who have come here."
The Yonhap article also ends on a rather interesting note:
Meanwhile, the results of a survey looking at satisfaction with native speaking assistant teachers by the provincial office of education which last December queried 1,960 elementary, middle and high school students and 588 parents showed that parents and students both had a 90% satisfaction rate. It revealed that 93% of students and 92% of parents hope that native speakers will continue to be placed in schools.
It should be noted that in 2006 Chungcheongnam-do had the highest placement rate for native speakers in schools (54%, at the time), so the province has been pursuing this for some time. In 2010 it had the lowest (ie. best) ratio for foreign teachers to students (see below as well).

On a related note, on February 3, the Segye Ilbo reported that the Ministry of Education and the Korea Education Development Institute recently released statistics which said that out of 754 schools in the Jeollabuk-do, there are only 26 native speaking teachers, making for a placement rate of 3.4%. This is less than not only the national average (26.6%), but far less than the placement rate for small and medium cities (49.3%) and even less than for remote areas like islands (10.2%).

What's amusing is that the article ends with a comment by an official from the provincial office of education saying that he doesn't understand what the MoE based their statistics on, since there are currently 278 NSETs teaching classes with Korean teachers in the province (an increase from 214 in 2010, as the stats below (originally posted here) reveal):

Just for fun, the left half of the chart is the number of students divided by the number of NSETs (3rd column). The right half of the chart is the total number of schools and number of schools where NSETs work (3rd column) and the percentage. What's interesting is that you can get an idea of how many schools the teachers work at. In Seoul and Gyeonggi-do there more NSETs than schools, whereas in Jeollabuk-do, there 214 teachers working in 503 schools. Still, Jeollabuk-do (in 2010) had a lower ratio of students to NSETs than Seoul or Gyeonggi, simply because of the large number of students in the latter areas. Now that Jeollabuk-do has more teachers and SMOE and GEPIK are cutting teachers, students in Jeollabuk-do theoretically have more access to NSETs in public schools than those in capital area, which makes the mistake by the MoE even more humorous.

As for the MoE losing track of over 200 NSETs, it's not the first time the government (or a politician, rather) has lost foreign teachers.


Isak said...

The Jeonbuk numbers are incorrect. I have lived there since 2008, and there are probably roughly 100 people employed in the province through EPIK. Even more people are employed through discretionary funds provided by the city Education offices, and directly from the schools. The total number of public school teachers (not just employed through EPIK) is probably at least 250.

jaylen watkins said...

lOvely post. I am much informed reading it.

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