Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Korea Herald article on HIV testing of foreign English teachers

A Korea Herald article by John Power published Monday asks "Is HIV testing of foreign teachers here to stay?" Here are some excerpts:
But, amid a pending U.N. committee ruling on whether the policy constitutes racial discrimination, an unclear picture of the current status and future of testing has emerged across government and educational bodies.

A press officer at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on Thursday told The Korea Herald that all local education offices had scrapped retesting for contract renewal as of this year.

“Because of problems of fairness between Korean and foreign teachers and discrimination that arose, some education offices did not require testing for contract renewal,” said Kwak Yoon-cheol. “Accordingly, this year all education offices decided to end testing for contract renewal.”

He said, however, that foreign teachers were still required by immigration to submit test results after their initial entry into Korea. The Korea Herald communicated with several native English teachers who said they had been retested recently, in some cases just weeks previously. [...]

A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed on Monday that one-time testing for immigration purposes was still in place, after earlier claiming the ministry had no such requirement.

An official with Korea Immigration Service, a division of the Justice Ministry, however, also said there had been no change in policy.

“We have not changed any of our policies on HIV testing,” Lee You-jin, a member of the residence and visa division of KIS, said via email on Nov. 19. [...]

In the past, the Justice and Education Ministries have taken different positions on the issue, specifically on the need for in-country retesting.

An official at the National Institute for International Education, the division of the Education Ministry that runs the EPIK NET program, told The Korea Herald in 2010 that it supported enshrining retesting as official policy. At the time the organization cited parental concerns and the results of two surveys showing strong public support for testing as rationale for its stance. It is not clear whether those surveys referred to one-time or multiple testing.

But an NIIED official, speaking on condition of anonymity, last week declined to confirm if this was still the organization’s position.

“We let each educational office know about the current regulations of the Ministry of Justice,” said the official. “So when we have annual meetings, if there are questions or issues we just give them information about current regulations and they are the ones who should decide, considering the regulations and other factors in their areas.”
Do read the entire thing. It's nice to get some confirmation that re-testing is being scrapped in some locales, and it's certainly interesting that immigration wrote that HIV testing "was still in place, after earlier claiming the ministry had no such requirement." I guess the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. Earlier confusion over re-testing was reported on in this 2010 Korea Herald article.

Since we're mentioning the Ministry of Education, I guess I'll toss in this interview with the minister of Education sent to me a few weeks ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That Korea Herald article was good and thanks for that Seo, Nam-soo article. What I learned is that the Korean education ministry, pricipals,and Korean teachers haven't been "helpful" to Korean students(just like the media etc...says about Wonomin gangsa/native Eng. teachers)

Mr. Seo said so himself - "In the past, students studied to achieve a higher economic and social standing than their peers. We are NOW trying to nurture students by unleashing their potential and their dreams. This is my top priority."

So, up until "NOW" Korean students weren't "helpful..." Shame on Korean teachers etc... for not being "helpful" to Korean students.