According to this article, a government agency signed a memorandum of understanding with a bunch of US universities to recruit students to teach in Korea.
The program will bring hundreds of students to Korea to teach in rural schools, and give foreigners a chance to learn Korean culture.
The monthly stipend is 1 500 000 won, and it's run by the National Institute for International Education.
This is a little more realistic than thinking that Korean Studies students and Kyopos would want to teach in the countryside for free, I suppose... and it'd be good for those rural schools to have native speakers in their classrooms, I suppose.
and maybe this program is trying to imitate the Fulbright placement program, which my friend, who went through it, tells me was very successful, and where the pay was similar, but which was successful because of the people it recruited, and the level of training and preparation and cultural orientation they'd received before they even entered the classroom... (more on Fulbright vs. EPIK here)
On the other hand,
if the Korean government is ready to hire people who haven't even graduated, and low-ball them at freaking 1.5 million a month...
can we please, pretty pretty please, stop hearing about low quality English teachers,
when it's become obvious that the gatekeepers don't give a damn, and will lower the bar this low, to get bodies in classrooms?
Is that too much to ask?
It probably is.
One of the greatest Marmot's Hole comments I read, and I wish I could find the source, was simply this:
Lots of foreign English teachers.
Trained & qualified English teachers.
Cheap English teachers.
Korea has to choose two.
Yeah, right now it's an employers' market: the people doing the hiring have more choices now than before, as lots of educators and people with postgraduate degrees from America are looking for work, given the bad economy over there.
But 1.5 a month, for non-graduates?
If Korea really wants to attract high quality teachers in their schools? How about this:
Designate public school teachers "teachers" instead of "assistant teachers": this way, the years an education graduate spends in Korea count as real years of teaching experience on grad school and job applications, once they go back home. Or say that teachers who renew for a second year get "full teacher" designation if they want it, or if they meet certain criteria, to count those years on their resume as true years of teaching experience. Then years of teaching in Korea's public schools would no longer basically appear as black holes on professional educators' resumes, and give professional, ambitious, career educators an incentive to come, or even stay a second year.
That'd raise the caliber a lot right there.
And I haven't even mentioned visa portability yet.