By Kang Shin-who
The government announced Wednesday details of plans to hire teachers of English among ethnic Korean students overseas and foreigners studying Korea-related studies overseas. They will teach at elementary schools in rural areas, which have been shunned by native English-speaking teachers.
Under the program, called Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK), led by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the government plans to hire about 500 teachers among ethnic Koreans and students studying overseas. They can stay for six months or one year.
Applicants are required to complete two or more years of university education. Foreign students staying in Korea cannot apply for the program due to visa transfer issues, the ministry official said.
In addition applicants should hold citizenship or resident cards from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Britain. The program, starting this July, will exclude South Africa, unlike general English-teaching visas.
The program is in line with President Lee Myung-bak's policy to strengthen English education at public schools. ``I understand that around 500 overseas Koreans will be appointed this year to teach English to elementary school students for a year or two,’’ Lee told young Korean-Americans in New York during his trip to the United States.
The participants will have round-trip airfare and allowances of about 1.5 million won ($ 1,500) per month as well as a monthly accommodation of 400,000 won.
After four to six weeks of orientation about Korea and basic teaching skills, they will teach after-school classes by forming one-to-one working partnerships with Korean university students. The ministry will select their Korean counterparts after completing applications from overseas.
``A Korean Government Scholarship’’ certificate will be presented to each participant. It will be very helpful for their future careers as this is not profit-oriented but volunteer activity,’’ Jang Ki-won, a ministry official in charge of the program, said.
Korean language skills are not necessary for applicants. Those selected after document screening and interviews will teach 15 hours per week from Monday to Friday.
Those who are interested in the program can apply at Korean embassies in the five countries from May 1 through June 15. Details are available at http://talk.mest.go.kr.