January 18, 2008
|A 16-year-old middle school student in Seoul likes to ask questions during her English classes, which are taught by a Korean. Often, however, she and her classmates ― who can speak English fluently ― are not given the chance.
“I can understand that the teacher teaches English in Korean but it is so frustrating that he does not even let me ask a question,” said the girl, who asked not to be named.
To push English teachers to improve, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education plans to introduce a certificate system, several sources at the office confirmed recently.
The English teachers will be encouraged to earn the certificate by having their lectures rated and by passing an interview with a native English speaker, according to the office.
“We will not handicap teachers just because they do not get the certificate,” said an official at the office who refused to be named. “We will introduce the system to encourage competition among teachers.”
The office also plans to require the teachers to participate in training. “We will provide a customized training course for each English teacher by setting up a database of the training history of all teachers,” said another official at the office who also refused to be identified.
By 2012, the office plans to train 2,000 teachers. There are 930 English teachers at elementary schools and 4,800 at middle schools and high schools in Seoul.
The office said its plan was crafted to implement President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s educational policies. Lee vowed to have the country’s English teachers teach in English as one of his election campaign pledges.By Bae No-pil, Min Dong-ki JoongAng Ilbo [email@example.com]