[EDITORIALS]English education suffering

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[EDITORIALS]English education suffering

The average score of the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) of 272 English teachers, taken before their participation in a six-month English training course organized by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development last March, was 718.
The teachers’ score lags far behind the average of 778 recorded by new employees of 40 major businesses and the average score of 841 of those who passed employment tests at 12 public enterprises.
The TOEIC test was created in 1979 by Educational Testing Services at the request of a Japanese business to measure business English capability. As it has no conversation or composition component, the test can’t measure a tester’s overall English capability. Still, we can evaluate the English capability of the teachers by it. It is rather disappointing to find that the average score of 10 percent of the nation’s English teachers stands at such a low level.
It is not a recent finding that teachers’ proficiency in English is low. As teachers’ English pronunciation is not correct, it has become a routine at schools that the reading is done by students who have attended foreign schools overseas. Although English is taught at school from the third grade, many parents don’t have faith in public school education and send their children overseas in hopes they can learn proper English.
Although a limited number of teachers were tested, the score revealed the level of their English capabilites. We believe the situation is no different in other subjects. The teachers’ organizations, including the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union, deserve to be criticized for opposing the introduction of a teacher evaluation system because they are afraid of exposing their weaknesses.
An English teacher may teach students when his own language proficiency reaches a certain level. Since the capability of its teachers is this low, it is natural that parents distrust public education. This is why we need evaluations. To get a better evaluation, teachers will study their own fields in earnest.
When they fail to reach the required level, they should enhance their teaching capability through intensive training. If their capability is below the level required for teaching, they should be expelled from education.

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