2,300 Korean teachers of English to be added in 2013

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2,300 Korean teachers of English to be added in 2013

More than 2,300 Korean teachers fluent in English will be recruited for primary and secondary schools nationwide next year, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology yesterday.

These teachers will be hired to teach conversational English to students in elementary, middle and high schools, said the Education Ministry, in its efforts to curb the cost of private education and boost a curriculum that places higher importance on practical English usage.

The ministry emphasized that it plans for each school to have at least one English speaking teacher.

There are currently 6,104 conversational English teachers, which will be increased by 2,300 by next year.

As part of its measures to reform English education taught in public schools to counter the prevalent hagwon, or private academy, system, the Education Ministry has promoted the conversational English program since 2009, hiring qualified English instructors.

“These teachers will not be woneomin [native speaker] instructors, but native Korean instructors who are fluent in English,” said Lee Jeong-ah, an English education official at the ministry.

She said these Korean instructors who speak English fluently will focus on revamping the English education in classes and teach from revised teaching material.

The ministry further said it plans to revise an ordinance so that these English-speaking teachers will be able to work at the same school for up to eight years. Currently English instructors can be employed by the same school only up to four years.

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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