Seoul to forgo English-speaking assistant teachers at middle, high schools
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Monday it will pull out nearly all English-speaking assistant teachers from the city's middle and high schools by next February, considering that secondary schools put more focus on reading and grammar than speaking.
In an effort to enhance students' English skills through public education, the education office introduced the native-speaking teacher policy in 1995 in the country's primary and secondary schools.
Only 20 to 30 out of 180 native-speaking teachers in city's high schools will remain at Seoul Global High School and 10 other schools designated for special English education by the end of next month, with all but four native speakers of the 260 to be withdrawn from the city's middle schools by next February, according to the city office.
The native speakers who hope to stay in the country will be relocated to the city's elementary schools, where the system will be put in place after an evaluation process, it added.
The move is based upon its decision that the policy is not cost-effective enough in the secondary schools where the focus of the English education is put on reading and grammar, in contrast to elementary schools with speaking-based curriculum, according to the office.
It also cited the results of the survey it conducted last year, where 62.2 percent of some 11,900 parents said they favor "Korean teachers who have a good command of English speaking and teaching" over native speakers as desirable English instructors.
"Scrapping the policy won't lower the quality of public education, as we see an increased number of young Korean teachers who have overseas experience, and we have the so-called 'Teaching English in English' certification system of English teachers," a city official said. (Yonhap)