English education, at a great cost

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English education, at a great cost

Immigration authorities in the Philippines recently sized the passports of 113 Korean students who were studying English in the Southeast Asian country without the necessary permits to do so.

It was bound to happen.

Small companies overseas that promise to help pave the way for students to study in the Philippines customarily send children to the country without the permits they’re required to have, as it helps cut down costs.

The students involved in the recent incident - many of them in elementary school - were victimized by greedy companies willing to break the law in order to save money.

Just imagine the fear these children felt when questioned by authorities about the illegal nature of their presence in the Philippines. The students, who were sent alone to study English in a foreign land, suddenly found out that they were lawbreakers.

Fortunately, the Philippine government has agreed to return their passports and send them home safely this month.

The problem, however, is that this could happen again in the future. Many Korean parents still prefer to send their children to study English in the Philippines over North America, as it’s cheaper and much closer than the United States and Canada.

Even today, most companies that help parents send their children to study in the Philippines still publicize on their Web sites that they can get students enrolled in courses without the necessary visas, citing their “experience” in such affairs.

They advertise that students can stay up to a year as long as they have their passports and a round-trip airline ticket.

To stop this practice, a multifaceted approach is needed. Government authorities in Korea must attempt to crack down on these reckless business practices by overseas firms.

At the same time, parents who wish to send their kids overseas for English studies should also investigate on their own to determine whether these companies and the educational institutions themselves are reliable and legitimate.

These children - often sent abroad by themselves without parents or guardians for months at a time or longer - can fall victim to many dangers.

Parents must now ask themselves if learning English this way is worth all of these significant risks.
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