According to the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, the budget allocated to hire foreign English teachers fell to 22.7 billion won ($20 million) for this year from 30 billion won in 2010.
Cho Young-min, senior supervisor of the education office, said the budget cut is in line with the plan to reduce the number of foreign teachers in phases in the years to come.
``We plan to cut about 200 teachers in 2011 from this month. We will also gradually cut the overall number in the coming years,’’ the supervisor said.
But he did not specify how many jobs will be shed at its GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea.)
Arranged as a three-year project, the English program by the provincial office had hired more teachers over the past three years. In 2010, the number of teachers increased to some 2,252 in Gyeonggi, a 110 percent jump from 2008 when they first started out with some 1,000.
However, after reaching its peak last year, the number of foreign teachers is expected to slide over the next three years in the province surrounding Seoul.
Cho said the cut will be made upon requests from schools, with Korean English conversation teachers replacing them.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will also see a budget cut, though the number of teachers will increase this year.
[SMOE] also cut its budget for the recruitment of foreign teachers to 35.9 billion won from 37.4 billion won in 2010.
But the cut will not result in the fall in the number of foreign teachers, as districts in the capital will increase their share of spending.
“As a result, 37 more teachers will be added to the total count this year,” said Yoon Ho-sang, senior supervisor at the office’s English education department. “
The article twice addressed, and dismissed, the idea that these budget cuts are due to regions providing free school lunches to students. It closes by saying that, contradictory to the reporting of that and other media outlets over the past four years, a 2009 survey found done by SMOE found that 90 percent of teachers and students, and 93% of Korean teachers "were very satisfied with the foreign teachers’ qualifications and class performance."
There has been talk of cuts for about a year, with experienced teachers being the first victims because schools are unable and unwilling to pay the salaries they'd command based on their qualifications. All while local media and hate groups bemoan the lack of "qualifications" among imported foreign English teachers.