Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Hated Kang Shin-who Strikes Again

If you read the Korean Times with any regularity (or indeed, any of the angrier kbloggers) you have probably come to despise Kang Shin-who just a little bit. His articles almost always have lovely racist jabs and constantly belittle foreigners in the education system without offering any sort of balance, counter-arguments or indeed, possible alternative viable solutions. Today's mess is a continuation of a previous piece on the horrid private English lessons that continue unchecked despite their illegality.

Under current visa laws, workers on an E-2 visa (ie, those of foreign English speaking heritage teaching English in a hagwon or public school) are forbidden to teach private lessons. People with an F-2 or F-4 visa (those who are of Korean heritage or have a Korean spouse) are permitted to teach lessons so long as it does not violate their full time work contract and they report all of their lessons for tax purposes. University students are allowed to teach a limited number with the permission of their professors (presumably so their private work does not interfere with their studies).

Kang Shin-who complains that it is so very hard to catch foreigners teaching the lessons illegally. Indeed, someone receiving these lessons is very unlikely to report them, especially if they are satisfied with the quality of their education. Here are my issues with the law: why are people who might not even be native English speakers allowed to teach private lessons while native English speakers are not? Second, if it is so hard to catch people doing it illegally or even deter them maybe they should make it illegal and tax it so that the government has an increased revenue which in turn could be used to reinvest into improving the public school system (and thus decreasing the need for private education). Sure, it might not get everyone who is teaching illegally to suddenly report their earnings but there are many honest souls out there who would rather be law abiding citizens. I do not teach any private lessons but if it was legal I would certainly consider it--and would definitely allow taxes to be taken out of my wages.

Here is another frustrating aspect: I want to hire a French tutor so that I can refresh my French and work on improving my writing skills. [I'm seriously considering grad school in France but that's for another blog post.] To do so, would I have to find a French person with a Korean spouse in order to not break the law?? In a country that places a high value on a capitalist way of life it seems absurd that they are not answering a supply and demand situation that doesn't deal with drugs, sex, illegal arms or North Korea.

Another infuriating point about F-2 and F-4 visa holders? They are not required to get the HIV test in order to teach-- and E-2 visa holders are. I understand the need to keep HIV in check, however, discriminatory testing is a human rights issue. Definitely something for another post...

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