Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Drop Out Rates

with 10 comments

Thanks to Whilsen for the following post.  I saw this issue in a couple of papers but didn’t have time to post on the issue.

Don’t know if you’d read this article yet. You made a post a while ago about NSET drop out rates. If the figures are right on this, it’s much higher than your estimates. Personally I’m not too surprised, depending on the school hagwons are generally easier to work for than ps where you deal with co-worker issues.

It’s definitely higher than my previous estimates but keep in mind that my estimates are for the schools that I work with.  We have a very stringent recruiting process to avoid bringing over people that are likely not to finish their contract either by their own will or by being terminated.  Also, we do our best to work with schools that place their instructors in the best situation possible workwise.

That said, our candidates are humans and our clients are also humans.  Someone is bound to screw up in one way or another at some point.

It’s also implied from the articles that the stats are from public schools only:

More than a third of the native-speaking English teachers in South Korea quit after six months or so on the job, challenging the effectiveness of language immersion programs installed nationwide, a report said Wednesday.

That’s what I think at least.  If they included hagwons, I’m pretty sure the rate would be much, much higher.

This comment is just plain ignorant:

“Many Koreans have to get through very hard training if they want to be a teacher. It is a kind of privilege for native English speakers to be invited here as teachers. So I earnestly ask them to be more responsible in their jobs,” said Oh Seok-hwan, a director at the ministry.

Really?  So the environment that a foreigner is placed in is moot?  It’s true that an empl0yee must be responsible and try to finish what he/she started but it’s unreasonable to place all the blame on the instructor when there are so many other variables such as the workplace, students, co-workers and other factors that one cannot control such as sickness, death in the family, better job (hey you can’t blame them for finding something better).

Ignorance once again:

Another problem raised by the lawmaker was that the majority of native English teachers lack teaching certificates. Less than 30 percent of them have teaching licenses from their home countries in some regions including Ulsan and North Gyeongsang Province.

What the hell does a teaching license have anything to do with not completing a contract?  I’ve seen plenty of instructors with licenses that have quit well before a year.


Written by recruiterinkorea

October 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. One third sounds a bit low. I would imagine this figure was low-balled to cover up the reality of the situation. To further magnify the situation, they should have given the stats on the number of “resigns” for those who completed one year. My guess would be that a high number of NETs finish out their contract as a matter of honor. The combination of these two stats would be quite telling.

    If I was a Korean educational official and knew of these statistics, I would be embarrased. This situation should be an embarrasement on the country. I can’t think of any other way to state this. Solly!!!


    October 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm

  2. I disagree. I think it is a privilege because the Korean government did not have to stress that their nation needs to learn English. But since they do stress it, it is a privilege so to speak because it is an opportunity for foreigners to work in another country and get paid.

    Also, in regards to teaching certificates, I think the director is thinking that if you went through the time and effort to get a certificate that it means the person is willing and eager to want to move their and teach. Yes, they still might quit half way though, but perhaps there is a higher percentage of teachers with certificates staying versus teachers without certificates that are not staying, because the ones with certificates are perhaps genuinely interested in coming to do a good job.


    October 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    • akfusion,

      I absolutely agree with you that the Korean government thinks that a person with a teaching certificate is more likely to stay. What the Korean government believes and what is reality, are two almost completely different things. I have been here long enough to understand this is a truth.

      Nothing can prepare a person for coming to this country and living here. All the research, teaching certificates, university degrees in the world are fruitless in comparison.

      Whatever the true numbers are and I doubt the NET community will ever really know, the consencious (sp?) is that those who bail out early is high enough to understand that something is terribly wrong. I’m sure it’s multi-faceted problem, but a serious problem none the less.


      October 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      • I also think it’s a person’s responsibility to find out as much information about the country before coming there themselves. I would not want to undergo intense packing and hit a 15+ hour plane ride to a foreign country without knowing what I am getting into, especially if I didn’t like the food, know the language, and know the culture some. There are so many facets to take into consideration as you said. I would say those that want to work and the Korean government both could do their parts better. But I agree with you mostly!


        October 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

  3. Mr. R,

    Please read the post at Brian in Jeollanan-do’s blog in regard to this topic.


    October 3, 2010 at 5:28 am

  4. AK I respectfully disagree with you, you seem misinformed. The government does actively stress the need for Korea to improve its English education. In education circles it’s widely known that Koreans study English for most of their lives yet, can barely speak a simple sentence. And that the Koreans that could speak relatively well were the ones that were economically privileged enough to attend elite hagwons or live abroad.

    It’s government policy now to try put a NSET in every school to try to bridge that gap. And I believe it was also President Lee’s campaign slogan. Though as you’ve mentioned in your blog, you don’t teach at a public school. So you haven’t personally experienced many of these issues that would make an NSET leave early


    October 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    • Heh, good reading Whisen. Yeah, I definitely have more experience to go here in Korea and I know little of NSET. Thanks for the explanation.


      October 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

  5. […] a comment » Thanks to Akfusion for his comment on my post on Drop Out Rates: I also think it’s a person’s responsibility to find out as much information about the country […]

  6. The problems are down to the choices Korean authorities. institutions and individuals make.

    Let’s see – a one year visa and contract is supposed to equate to job security or taking the role of the NET seriously? Of course it’s not. Why would a professional 9 times out of 10 come to Korea when they will earn more teaching English at home and have job security within reason?

    A one year contract and one year visa = Koreans saying that the English teacher’s role for a native speaker is as a bit part player, somebody who is not going to be treated as important. Koreans need to stop hating on Japan and learn from the system there.

    I initially had a one year contract and visa. But when I renewed my contract for another year I received a three year visa from the Japanese Govt. Three years. Now I believe there are moves towards 5 year visas for Specialists in Humanities/Instructors categories which foreign English teachers fall under.

    Koreans want to leash foreign English teachers. This results in negative practises by employers and negative publicity for Korea. Why does the Japanese system allow you to move freely within reason from employer to employer? Why does it allow you to own your own visa?

    I’ll tell you why. It’s because the Japanese,despite their own xenophobia and nationalism, are more secure than the Koreans. Their Government doesn’t have to pander to the xenophobia by chaining English teachers to their sponsor.

    The Korean Government and institutions must always find a way to shackle the foreign English teacher because of deeply felt resentment and the constantly repressed suspicion that Korea is indeed far from being superior as is so often screamed from Govt, political, media and educational sources. As well as from many Koreans.

    There is also the key matter of widespread incompetence in the education system of Korea. Lazy half assed measures by schools, huge class sizes, Korean ‘co teachers’ contributing little or actively thwarting the NET (when they are present that is)plus the usual menu of all sorts of bigotry served up to the foreign teacher in the name of ‘understanding Korean culture’means that EPIK, GEPIK, whatever name a program comes under generally is a waste of time although there are some exceptions.

    Bad hagwons are another thing but it would take too long to go into the problems. Fundamentally the Korean way of telling NETs they’re just one year visa guests subject to the whims of their employer and then berating them for not being professional English teachers and for not speaking and understanding Korean well is just hypocritical.

    Koreans want us to commit ourselves like migrants or guest workers but we are not remotely in that category.

    Their constant whingeing about lack of Korean skills among NETs misses the point that they are in no way creating an impression or creating the legal environment in which NETs can feel that what they are doing is anything remotely approaching a career in Korea. Of course some do get renewed and have a few years or more but stays longer than 3 years are not usual.

    Nearly all the NETS who stay longer are maried to Koreans.There are the unmarried vets but they are in a very small minority. Koreans have to stop demanding commitment when they continually tell NETs that they are short termers and reinforce this through their one year contracts and one year visas.


    October 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  7. Something I forgot to add to the whole you’re only temporary meme of Korean interaction with English teachers – even when they get involved with the society around them there are no means of them obtaining any legal status in Korea through it.

    I know a NET who has supported a needy Korean family for over three years. This has included putting one of their kids through a hagwon, helping with another’s education expenses. This foreigner has also helped out the parents and kids in other significant ways. The teacher is currently out of Korea because they couldn’t find another job to coincide with their contract ending at their school.

    In some other countries there are visas for those who are not a citizen or permanent resident but are in effect being the guardian of a student or being one of the breadwinners in the family. But of course in Korea never. The waygugin is useful but can not be allowed any legal status when they do these things.

    Personally I would never do what this NET has done and will keep doing. To me it’s a classic case of Koreans wanting the benefits of foreigners but denying them inclusiveness. When I heard first hand about this, I thought what do foreigners have to do to gain some legal respect in Korea?


    October 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm

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