Taken as a whole, the government appears to have succeeded in its recruitment drive: There were 4,543 applications for the 4,228 jobs this year ㅡ 1,963 in elementary and 2,265 in secondary schools.
But on closer inspection, the data showed that nine regional education offices were unable to attract enough applicants.
North Chungcheong had exactly 113 applicants for its recruitment quota ㅡ also 113 ㅡ while North Gyeongbuk received only 204 for its 274 posts. In South Jeolla, just 170 applied for the 208 jobs on offer in the province.
Additionally, applications for posts at secondary schools fell short by some 200.
The ministry admitted the shortage was due to the program's lack of promotion.
``Those who don't have teaching licenses can apply for a job, but it seems that many didn't know about it. Also, many teacher hopefuls with teaching licenses didn't apply for the lecturer jobs because they are preparing for exams for regular teacher positions due in October,'' a ministry official said.
The article goes on to mention that these lecturers would make 26 million won per year, but that teachers are choosing to instead work at hagwon. Though Kang Shin-woo says in this article, and includes quotations to that effect in others, that these lecturers would replace native speakers eventually, I still maintain that the first priority here is getting English teachers in the school in the first place. In rural areas especially there are not even Korean English teachers, as homeroom teachers pick up the slack. At two of the schools I worked at in Gangjin, for example, English was taught by the science teacher at one and by the physical education teacher at the other. Provided districts are willing to pay for these lecturers, I suspect they'd be headed there, first.
Nonetheless, a Ministry of Education official brought native speakers into the conversation in March:
The Korean instructors will receive about 26 million won ($18,882) in annual pay on a one-year contract and can renew for up to four years at one school. In comparison, native English teachers receive about 30 million won.
``Foreign native English speakers cannot teach students without Korean teachers, but the newly recruited teachers can teach on their own. We expect these instructors will replace foreign teachers over the long term,'' Euh added.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we do teach by ourselves a lot of the time, yada yada yada, profound ignorance about what we do, yada yada yada, are these lecturers going to bring in extra money for the schools and so on and so forth. Look, I'm tired, so I'll just bring up a this one other point. One of the big challenges now is that NSETs are hired---at great expense, apparently, and great inconvenience---to teach English conversation in a system geared entirely toward placement tests. The schools have no idea what to do with us. When these Korean English lecturers do arrive, it sounds like the system will be more geared toward practical English, if the plan to replace the TOEFL with a Korean test goes into effect. You can't bitch about ineffective NSETs when you place them in a system in which they're set up to fail. If you're not going to use NSETs, not going to build their talents and strengths into the system, there's really no reason not to hire local teachers instead. And I'm not saying Korean English lecturers would do a poor job, or would necessariy be poor substitutes in the public schools, I'm just saying.