Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who knew? Hagwon owners want to block unqualified teachers

The Korea Times has a very convoluted article describing the concerns of the Association of Foreign Language Institutes.

It is convoluted because the first half seems to be verbatim from an AFLI press release with their, uh, interesting, spin on the the subject of greater employment options for foreign teachers.

The AFLI doesn't describe the policy that way. They suggest, quote, "the government should block the inflow of unqualified native English teachers, making clear its opposition to a policy to increase the number of "questionable instructors"."

I have been mostly satisfied with the hagwons or institutes I have worked at in Korea. Min Byung Cheol Hagwon in Seoul was great - the money was okay, but more importantly, their dealings with me were completely above board, honest and transparent. I worked at two different hagwons in Masan and both deducted income tax from my salary but apparently never paid it -when I was set to leave and asked for income tax receipts, I was ignored. They also never supplied me with a health insurance card, as the contract stated they would.

The hagwons are not concerned with "questionable instructors". The real point of concern appears in the second half of the article (KIS, mentioned in the quote, is the Korean Immigrations Service).

Under current rules, E-2 visa holders sign contracts with hagwon owners on a one-year basis and are required to work at least nine months at a maximum of only two locations.

The immigration authorities told the association on April 16 that it will let E-2 visa holders transfer to other working places after a month and allow them to work at more than two locations.
The planned relaxation of the rules is aimed at maximizing the convenience for foreign English teachers, according to the KIS. Hagwon owners, however, are worried that this will lead to a high job turnover rate and jack up wages.

Quality hagwons have no reason to fear the changes and quality instructors will be more likely to stay in the country if they are not trapped in the employ of poorly-run schools.

The EFL Geek is also commenting on the article.

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