|The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education's plan to improve public English education has run into a brick wall. Korea Times file|
By Jung Min-ho
A union of liberal teachers has called on education authorities to remove all ― if not reduce the number of ― native English teachers from elementary schools in Seoul.
According to the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) Wednesday, its Seoul office representatives will soon meet their counterparts from the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) to discuss the issue.
"There have been opinions that the quality of some native English teachers' teaching skills is low, which increases Korean teachers' workload," a KTU official reportedly said. "They can be replaced by Korean teachers, given that what they teach is elementary level English."
In April 2018, the SMOE announced measures to improve the quality of English education in public schools. As part of the reform, the office decided to provide native English teachers to all 557 elementary schools in the city.
By the end of this year, the SMOE initially planned to provide native English teachers to 432 schools.
Following media reports of the issue, Rep. Ha Tae-keung, of the opposition Bareunmirae Party, criticized the KTU during a meeting Wednesday at the National Assembly.
"Native teachers' English education has been popular and it is helpful, especially for children from low-income families who can't afford expensive private education," Ha said.
"The KTU is making the demand only because it serves its interest … For the sake of a better English education for all children, it should not do so."