Starting in the fall semester next year, around 100 teachers from India will be teaching English at elementary, middle and high schools nationwide, a high-ranking official with the Education Ministry said yesterday.
The ministry has recently confirmed a plan to “improve the system for assistant native teachers of English,” including hiring English-speaking Indians.
“The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed between Korea and India last Friday has opened a 1.2 billion-strong Indian market. We expect a number of qualified English teachers from India will come here,” said the source.
Brian quotes and says:
The ministry has spent more than 300 million won a year on hiring and training those teachers but experienced difficulty gaining sufficient “qualified” teachers, given that only 13 percent of them have official teaching certificates.
I wrote about the misuse of "qualified" and "unqualified" in the Korea Herald in June, and have addressed it many timeson this site, to such an extent that I thought we moved beyond that misnomer. I guess it bears repeating, for those who missed it the last few times around, that it is Korea itself that determined a four-year degree and the right passport are the qualifications for teaching English here.
However, I'm sure these teachers come cheaper, and I consider their introduction more indication---together with the new domestic English test, the thousands of Korean English "lecturers," and the increased contract funny business by public schools---that South Korea is moving away from hiring native speakers from the Big 7. Though thousands of native speaker English teachers have been hired for public schools over the years, a near-total lack of planning and support on the part of co-teachers, schools, and education offices has prevented them from reaching their full potential and has essentially set them up to fail. I suspect it won't be too long until the NSET experiment is over.
Indeed, at the 2008 KOTESOL conference, one of the big-name speakers, in describing the future of ESL, discussed the end of "Native speaker English". The example given there was of a Chinese construction company hiring English teachers from Germany, who were more interested in communication, than in proper use of articles and the like.
Certainly, any teacher brought here from India will be well-qualified and experienced. In a third-world country with such a huge population, you're either good at something or you're unemployed. Students will learn excellent English-for-communication, although they might ask, "What is your good name?"
On the other hand, Korea Beat, in discussing a completely different article, reports that racist attitudes in Korea are unchanged. I should add that my very-traditional in-laws welcomed me into their family without reservation.
KwandongAlex is hungry - maybe more later.- Okay, he's fed. Post is as complete as it ever will be.