By Yun Suh-young
The number of female teachers at elementary, middle and high schools has steadily increased over the past 10 years, indicating that the imbalance will worsen unless it is addressed artificially.
Female staff made up 75.8 percent of the total teachers at elementary schools nationwide in 2011, compared with 68.2 percent in 2002, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Sunday.
They accounted for 66.8 percent of the total at middle schools in 2011, compared with 59.7 percent in 2002, with the percentages rising to 46.2 percent from 35.2 percent at high schools.
The numbers are much higher for schools in the capital and metropolitan region. The percentage of female teachers exceeded 80 percent at elementary schools in metropolitan cities with 85 percent in Seoul, 84.4 percent in Daejeon and 80.4 percent in Busan.
Experts have expressed concerns over the aggravating gender imbalance, especially because female teachers have difficulty controlling unruly male students.
Teachers agree that there are some tasks that only males are suitable for but there are fewer male applicants for positions due to fierce competition with female peers. Female applicants score better on the state exam to recruit teachers.
Men are becoming an endangered species at primary schools with seven in Seoul having no male staff members and 15 schools with only one male teacher as of last March, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Education Office.
Rep. Park Young-ah of the ruling Grand National Party has recently submitted a bill to the National Assembly to guarantee a quota of teaching positions be filled with men.
“The imbalance of male and female teachers at schools is a serious problem. With calls for ways to prevent school violence getting louder, we need legal grounds on which we can employ more male teachers,” Park said.