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Korean English teachers protesting- What is the full story?
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dairyairy



Joined: 17 May 2012
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:28 am    Post subject: Korean English teachers protesting- What is the full story? Reply with quote

Does anyone know the full story? It's not an article but rather is a picture of a protest and here is the link and the caption.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/05/115_135858.html



Quote:
Korean English instructors at primary and secondary schools stage a rally against job cuts at the main office of the National Human Rights Commission in downtown Seoul, Thursday. They filed a petition with the human rights
agency to step in to prevent the government from not-renewing the contracts of some 600 non-permanent English conversation teachers upon their expiration in August in breach of its earlier commitment.

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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 3:27 am    Post subject: Re: Korean English teachers protesting- What is the full sto Reply with quote

dairyairy wrote:
Does anyone know the full story? It's not an article but rather is a picture of a protest and here is the link and the caption.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/05/115_135858.html



Quote:
Korean English instructors at primary and secondary schools stage a rally against job cuts at the main office of the National Human Rights Commission in downtown Seoul, Thursday. They filed a petition with the human rights
agency to step in to prevent the government from not-renewing the contracts of some 600 non-permanent English conversation teachers upon their expiration in August in breach of its earlier commitment.


I think everyone is finally starting to see where all this is headed. English eduction is getting placed on the back burner and the government is ensuring ways to make it happen and to de-emphasize its presence in the educational sphere.

Call it what you want, but I think it has to do with the xenophobic people in power OR people who control those people in power to see our (foreign teachers) departure by any means necessary. By slashing jobs they effectively create a smaller market for English thereby minimizing its importance.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isnt directly about us (native english speakers). There is a large contingent of Korean contract teachers teaching english in public schools the last couple years & their jobs are on the hook. They're understandably upset.
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
This isnt directly about us (native english speakers). There is a large contingent of Korean contract teachers teaching english in public schools the last couple years & their jobs are on the hook. They're understandably upset.

Yea I know. But they are probably trying to reduce the market and decrease the influx of foreign teachers coming in. I wouldn't put it past 'em.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:
This isnt directly about us (native english speakers). There is a large contingent of Korean contract teachers teaching english in public schools the last couple years & their jobs are on the hook. They're understandably upset.


One teachers misfortune is anothers gain.

I remember my Korean supervisor gloating back in 2009 that Korean English teachers would be replacing Foreigners.

But luck can change in an instant. Now things have come full circle again. Perhaps they've realised that Korean English teachers are not necessarily better than foreign teachers.

The real problem here is the spite, protectionism and backbiting of those trying to keep their jobs at the expense of others. The older management making the decisions here are often the most useless, untalented placeholders in the game.

Basically its a giant pool of sharks competing for their slice of government money handouts.


Last edited by Julius on Sat May 18, 2013 7:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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liveinkorea316



Joined: 20 Aug 2010
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These days the Provincial offices of education have not been hiring people on full time employment contracts but rather forcing them to get yearly contracts like foreign teachers. It is more flexible for schools and prevents the pension crises and bloated state rolls that exist in other countries since once hired full time a teacher here almost cannot be fired. It's a job for life.

It could have alot to do with demographics because they are elementary and middle school teachers so the bab boom is over here.

Not sure why just English conversation though...I heard this is affecting most majors.
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Mix1



Joined: 08 May 2007

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julius wrote:


Basically its a giant pool of sharks competing for their slice of government money handouts.

Bingo.
Wouldn't put anything past some of these government honchos ...in Seoul at least.
They pretend to be doing what's 'best' for education, but in reality it's just a bunch of backstabbing and lying and playing politics for the most part.
Just judging from other stuff that's gone down, they may very well need the temp teachers, but probably someone somewhere up the chain nixed their budget and is getting the extra money allotment spread around to them and their pals for whatever reason.
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maximmm



Joined: 01 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my elementary school, out of 3 co-teachers, one was a contract based teacher. She was not a certified elementary school teacher, but rather a conversational English teacher (though she did work as an English teacher in a hagwon for a number of years prior to this gig). In order to be hired as such, she had to pass some sort of special test a few years ago and that gave her, and other people that passed the test, the right to be hired in a public school for 5 years as an English teacher.

I suppose it's possible that the government has negated on that 5-year promise?

I'm not sure what it means... contract based teachers were cheaper than the elementary school certified teachers (and their English skill is often superior to that of the certified elementary school teachers).

I suppose it may be that it's not as much of a financial issue as the fact that the government wants all certified public school teachers to be proficient in English?

It could also be something else. I recall that there was a bit of a conflict between some teachers - since some certified elementary school teachers felt that the contract based teachers were making a move on their turf (in my school one co-teacher, who was also the head of the English department at that time, kept reminding me that the contract based teacher was not a 'real' teacher and was pretty much inferior (blood... not as pure?^^)). It's funny, because the contract-based teacher was actually pretty good at her job - and when I told her what the other co-teacher said - the conflict escalated. Yep.... things haven't been the same ever since @@
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dairyairy



Joined: 17 May 2012
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mix1 wrote:
Julius wrote:


Basically its a giant pool of sharks competing for their slice of government money handouts.

Bingo.
Wouldn't put anything past some of these government honchos ...in Seoul at least.
They pretend to be doing what's 'best' for education, but in reality it's just a bunch of backstabbing and lying and playing politics for the most part.
Just judging from other stuff that's gone down, they may very well need the temp teachers, but probably someone somewhere up the chain nixed their budget and is getting the extra money allotment spread around to them and their pals for whatever reason.


Maybe that "Free school lunches" fiasco is now biting Korean teachers on the butt, too.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know the full story but here is something:

A handfull of years ago, a law was passed (supposedly to protect workers) which said that if you employed someone for X number of years, they automatically became what is called a full-time employee and they had to have full benefits and it was much harder to fire the employee.

The result has been that a number of employees are fired before they reach the legal limit to be considered "permanent or regular" employees.

These teachers were hired and now they are about to be fired because their respective employers don't want them to be given "regular worker" status.

These teachers don't like it, so they are protesting. I don't know about teachers but there have been numerous protests over such firings in other fields in Korea and protesting this issue is nothing new (nor are such firings).

The result is that these non-regular workers float from job to job only to be fired after a few years, thus prevented from ever having full benefits.

As for free lunches (Seoul only by the way), it is my understanding that that would be a completely different part of the budget and it would not be an issue here.

This is simply an issue of schools not wanting to deal with the legal protections that come with being a "regular" worker.

It is also my understanding that unless you are under an F-visa, this law is not applicable to FTs so it probably doesn't affect most FTs.
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waynehead



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Location: Jongno

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. I'm on my fourth contract at my public school, and there are several Korean teachers (both English and other subjects) who've been here for nearly as long as I have without getting tenure. It seems schools are pinching their pennies by relying more and more on yearly contracted teachers, just like us waegs.
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dairyairy



Joined: 17 May 2012
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could right about the full-time versus temporary issue. The Korean teacher's unions never seem to do much about workplace issues like this, or any others. But bring up North Korea and they swing into action. It makes you wonder why anyone would want to join those unions, in the first place.
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hiamnotcool



Joined: 06 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julius wrote:
schwa wrote:
This isnt directly about us (native english speakers). There is a large contingent of Korean contract teachers teaching english in public schools the last couple years & their jobs are on the hook. They're understandably upset.


One teachers misfortune is anothers gain.

I remember my Korean supervisor gloating back in 2009 that Korean English teachers would be replacing Foreigners.

But luck can change in an instant. Now things have come full circle again. Perhaps they've realised that Korean English teachers are not necessarily better than foreign teachers.

The real problem here is the spite, protectionism and backbiting of those trying to keep their jobs at the expense of others. The older management making the decisions here are often the most useless, untalented placeholders in the game.

Basically its a giant pool of sharks competing for their slice of government money handouts.


The funny thing is in an effort to tone down the emphasis on NET's in Korea the Korean English Conversation Teachers might have brought on a lack of interest in the english language in general. The effect would be that not only are the NET's no longer wanted, but the Korean English Conversation Teachers aren't wanted either. I have had some KT's that realized we were all in this together, but sadly some of them have never seemed to grasp this point.
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Julius



Joined: 27 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maximmm wrote:
some certified elementary school teachers felt that the contract based teachers were making a move on their turf (in my school one co-teacher, who was also the head of the English department at that time, kept reminding me that the contract based teacher was not a 'real' teacher and was pretty much inferior


Sounds similar to my former supervisor. She was the one copying all my ideas while simultaneously telling me that NET's weren't real teachers etc.

Basicaly you have an upper echelon who have had it far too easy for far too long, and they didn't even have to pass difficult exams to get their jobs. They're still in control and doing anything to protect their position.
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Stan Rogers



Joined: 20 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before long every worker in Korea, foreign or Korean will be a contract worker.
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