Posted : 2010-09-30 19:03
Updated : 2010-09-30 19:03

More native English teachers quit

By Kang Shin-who

More native English teachers are breaching agreed working terms in contracts made with public schools and are leaving Korea.

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the number of foreign teachers who failed to complete their working contracts last year rose to 425 from 283 a year ago. This year as well, 252 native English speakers have already left schools as of July, according to Rep. Kim Se-yeon of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) who asked the ministry to submit the statistics to the National Assembly.

Currently, education authorities recruit native English speakers overseas as assistant teachers on a one-year basis for English conversation classes.

The number of language assistant teachers at elementary and secondary schools increased to 8,473 this year from 7,631 in 2009 and 5,115 in 2008, meaning about 80 percent of schools nationwide have foreign teachers this year, a sharp surge compared with 48 percent in 2007.

Particularly, nearly 30 percent of the foreign teachers who ended their contract worked for less than six months. Some 22 percent of them quit to study or transferred to other jobs, while about 15 percent left without prior notice and others for various reasons including difficulties in adapting to their schools, illness, and being involved in crimes.

The dropout rate also varied according to regions Rep. Kim Sun-dong of the GNP said. Busan topped the list, followed by Incheon, Seoul and Jeju Island.

“Many Koreans have to get through very hard training if they want to be a teacher. It is a kind of privilege for native English speakers to be invited here as teachers. So I earnestly ask them to be more responsible in their jobs,” said Oh Seok-hwan, a director at the ministry.

“Also, we will strengthen the screening process in recruiting native English teachers,” he added.

Another problem raised by the lawmaker was that the majority of native English teachers lack teaching certificates. Less than 30 percent of them have teaching licenses from their home countries in some regions including Ulsan and North Gyeongsang Province.

The student-teacher ratio also saw wide gaps, ranging from 1,552 students per instructor in Daegu to 778 to 1 in Seoul.

“The government should map out recruitment plans on native English teachers more systematically in order to provide children with better English education environments,” said Rep. Kim said.

만기 못채우는 원어민 영어교사 점점 늘어

계약기간을 채우지 못하고 한국을 떠나고 원어민 영어교사 수가 계속 늘고 있어 일선 학교 회화 수업에 차질을 빚고 있는 것으로 드러났다.

29일 국회 교육과학기술위원회 소속 한나라당의 김세연의원이 분석한 자료에 따르면 지난해 계약기간(1년)을 채우지 못하고 떠난 원어민 영어교사 수는 425명으로 전년의 283명에 비해 크게 늘어났다. 금년도 7월 현재 252명이 기간을 채우지 못하고 학교를 떠난 것으로 나타났다.

초등학교와 중학교의 원어민 영어교사 수는 2008년 5,115명에서 2009년 7,631명 금년 8,473명으로 늘어나 전국의 80%가량의 학교가 원어민 영어교사가 있는 것으로 나타났다.

지난 3년간 그만 둔 원어민 영어교사 중 30%가량이 1년의 반도 못 채우고 그만뒀으며, 22%는 공부한다거나 다른 일거리를 잡기 위해 그만 두었으며 15%는 학교 적응 어려움, 질병, 범죄 등의 이유로 사전 통고 없이 그만둔 것으로 나타났다.

또 시도별로 원어민 영어교사의 중도 해직율이 큰 차이를 보이고, 원어민 교사 확보율과 자격증 보유율에서도 격차가 심해 지역 간 영어교육 수준의 양극화를 심화시킨다는 지적도 있다.
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