|Why Public Schools|
|Getting Started - Getting started general|
|Written by Korvia Consulting|
|Monday, 27 April 2009 09:57|
Public School vs. Private Institute (Hagwon)
-Knowing the difference and what it means to you.
When considering if the opportunity to come to South Korea to teach English as a second language is right for you it is important to compare the two options available to you. These options generally fall into two categories: Public School or privately owned and operated businesses known as “Hagwon” in Korea. Weighing and understanding the differences between the two can mean the difference between having a great experience in South Korea and having one that you would rather forget. While base remuneration packages start on similar levels the nature of each can be starkly different (with the major exceptions being that Public Schools offer more than twice the amount of paid vacation days and just half the number of teaching hours than that of a Hagwon as well as in class support and a higher pay scale based on qualifications).
· KorVia Consulting only works in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Government regulated Public Schools, NOT privately operated businesses (Hagwon).
Public Schools, as you might imagine are the schools that are funded by tax revenue and administered through the South Korean Government Office of the Ministry of Education. They include elementary, middle and high schools throughout all of South Korea. These schools, like their counter parts in the west are mostly free to attend and parents do not have to pay a tuition fee for their children to attend. It is compulsory for Korean children to attend through the middle school level, however in 2008 97% of all high school students in South Korea graduated from high school, the highest level of any OECD country in the world. The Public School system in South Korea is known to be one of the most academically rigorous in the world with students annually placing in the top ranks of math, science, computer, and reading skills. The South Korean government spends more money on each student per capita than any other OECD nation, outspending their western counterparts by a nearly 3-1 margin.
As a Native English Teacher in the Public School system you will be a member of one of the best run and most academically respected school systems in the world. The funds to support you for an academic year are budgeted for and set-aside for you by the Office of the Ministry of Education before you even sign a contract. The contractual benefits of your contract including salary, furnished housing, airfare, insurance, settlement allowance and bonus pay are budgeted for before hand, set aside and guaranteed to you by law. A position as a Public School teacher in South Korea is an accomplishment which you can be proud of on your resume for the rest of your career. As Native English Speaking Teacher at a Public School you will never be expected to work beyond your contract hours (22 hours a week), nor to teach outside of your stated contract hours (Mon-Fri only). Whether you would like to pursue a teaching career back home or go in to another profession a recommendation from the South Korean Government Office of the Ministry of Education is a positive accomplishment. The current US ambassador to South Korea got her start as a high school teacher in South Korea!
Private Institute – Hagwon
The term Hagwon in Korean literally means private learning place. The Hagwon system is unique to Korean culture. Hagwons exist to provide extra tutoring in all subjects to students outside of their regular school hours generally from early afternoon to late at night.Hagwons are located on every corner of every town throughout all of South Korea. Hagwons are privately owned and operated businesses with little to no oversight from the South Korean government. They are owned and operated by private citizens for a profit. As with any business the sole focus is making a profit. While Hagwons have existed for a long time in Korea, the majority are English language oriented. Fueled by the feverish nature which Koreans want to learn English a billion dollar secondary market for private language tutoring took root in the mid 1990’s. They hire Native speaking people from the west to provide speaking classes. The business makes money by advertising and selling the services (time) of the foreigner.
The majority of students that attend these English Hagwons are from kindergarten through middle school. When hired by a Hagwon the responsibility of the teacher is to keep the children happy regardless of academic progress. If the children are unhappy, the parents are unhappy. When the parents are unhappy they won't pay the tuition bill, without which the Hagwon would go under and you would be out of a job. If the business fails you will be left to fend for yourself in a foreign country. Not a fun chore. While English Hagwons serve a purpose for their students, it is important to recognize the inherent danger to you as an employee of a privately owned company in a foreign country. It is unfortunate, but unscrupulous Hagwon owners do exist and many a tale of woe have been heard from jilted Hagwon teachers. Knowing the dynamics of business law in Korea would benefit you tremendously if ever the need arise to confront your owner over contract disputes. Before entering into a contract with a Hagwon be sure to refer to the “Hagwon Blacklist”, which is an independently maintained list by foreigner teachers in Korea, of Hagwons in South Korea that have had official complaints registered against it. Complaints range from demands to teach too many hours, demands to teach on weekends, not receiving pay or benefits and unreasonable early termination (so the owner doesn't have to pay your bonus or flight ticket home).
KorVia Consulting believes your time spent abroad should be spent exploring new lands, meeting new exciting people, sampling exotic cuisine and making great money, NOT worrying about an unstable work environment or dealing with unscrupulous business owners who have only their best interests at heart. We urge you to make informed decisions when deciding on your place of employment in South Korea.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 April 2010 13:31|