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Pinoy Abroad

RP to Korea: Let Pinoys teach English in schools

July 10, 2008 6:29pm
Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Luis T. Cruz (left) discusses with Commissioner Choo Kyu-ho of the Korea Immigration Office the possibility of Filipino teachers gaining entry into South Korea as English teachers. DFA
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is asking South Korea to reconsider its education policy and accommodate Filipino English teachers in their language schools.

Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Luis Cruz discussed with Commissioner Choo Kyu-ho of the Korean Immigration Office the possibility of revising the law so that Filipino teachers can gain entry into South Korea.

Under Korea’s law, only professionals from "native" English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada can teach the language in Korean schools.

In response, Choo said that South Korea is "considering extending the scope" of the law since its public schools are in need of more English teachers.

“With its highly qualified workforce, the Philippines can help South Korea meet this demand," Cruz said.

He added that talks would continue between the Philippines and the South Korean governments to extend the scope of the law and open its labor market to qualified Filipino English teachers.

Former Philippine Ambassador to Korea Susan Castrence earlier said she finds the policy “bizaare" despite the fact that thousands of Koreans flock to the Philippines every year to study English.

“Even the native-speaking United States gets teachers from the Philippines and why not Korea? You will be solving the dearth of English teachers with Filipino teachers," she said.

Castrence said about 1,312 Filipino teachers are currently teaching English and other subjects in the US in 2007.

Early this year, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Singapore have criticized the Korean government’s alleged “discriminating" working visa policy for teachers coming from non-native English speaking countries.

The countries denounced Seoul’s “narrow-minded" visa regulation as it prevents Korean students from developing English skills in a cheaper and efficient way.

They argued that “it is against international norms of equal treatment for all."

Among the countries classified as “eligible" to obtain the E-2 visa are: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries named as “ineligible" to teach English in Korea are: Kenya, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan and India. Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, was also included in the list. - GMANews.TV