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100 Indians to be recruited as assistant English teachers

New Korea-India pact opens up 1.2B-strong workforce

Nov 11,2009
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.

The ministry will recruit around 100 Indians early next year and if the trial is successful, it could raise the number to 300. The source said there is a high chance that those teachers will be dispatched to regions outside the Seoul metropolitan area where there is a shortage of native English teachers.

Korean schools introduced the so-called English Program in Korea project in 1995 for “globalized education” and set the goal of allocating one native English teacher for conversation with students for every class. Currently, there are 7,088 assistant native English teachers employed but they are from seven English-speaking countries - the United States, Australia, Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Their monthly salary ranges between 2 million won ($1,700) and 2.5 million won.

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.

“A large number of Indians are already teaching mathematics and English in the United States and Britain. I think we can expect much from those teachers,” the ministry official said.

Regarding concerns that some Indians who are fluent in English speak with local pronunciation and intonation, which has led to the term “Inglish,” the ministry will pick only those with teaching certificates of English and scrutinize the screening process through written and oral exams.

Park Jun-eon, a professor of English language and literature at Soongsil University, said competition for jobs will intensify if the Korean government brings in native speakers of English from Asian countries such as India and the Philippines who might better understand Asian cultures.



By Lee Won-jean [spring@joongang.co.kr]




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