By Lee Tae-hoon
E-2 visa holders will be able to open English classes at corporations and government offices, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) announced, Tuesday.
Its spokesman said that the regulations that discourage companies and government organizations from staging English classes in their own buildings will be eased.
Under the current law, E-2 visa holders, eligible for teaching a foreign language, cannot teach at corporations and government offices unless they work full time.
Even organizations with an excellent education environment, such as the Incheon International Airport Corp. and the National Assembly Research and Training Institute, have been reluctant to hire full-time E-2 visa holders, due to high costs and the lack of experience in language teaching.
Currently, the law prohibits organizations from hiring teachers on a short-term basis or outsourcing language education from private academies,
However, a director of an English-language academy in Seoul said on condition of anonymity that many private academies and brokers have long been providing English teachers to companies, with some of them not even aware that the practice has been illegal.
``Frankly, we have never told them about the regulation unless they ask. Unfortunately, we have had no other way of providing the education they need in this era of globalization," the director said.
On the plan to amend the regulation, Kim Dong-il, a senior official at the Council for Foreign Language Education, expressed his deep appreciation.
``I'm glad to hear that the government is finally making efforts to address the problem," Kim said. ``This will enhance transparency and make private-language academies compete in order to provide a more competitive and better curriculum and teachers for businesses or government bodies."
An ACRC official said the commission will continue efforts to help improve the English education system in Korea.
As of April 2008, there were 18,029 foreign-language teachers in Korea and English-language teachers accounted for 16,751, or 92.7 percent.
Forty percent of foreign-language teachers are from the United States, 29.4 percent from Canada and 9.3 percent from Britain. Others include those from South American (4.1 percent), Australia (3.9 percent) and New Zealand (3.8 percent).