The Korea Herald


College degrees no longer required from foreign instructors for online classes

By Park Jun-hee

Published : May 31, 2023 - 18:49

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A government agency that oversees policy coordination on Wednesday recommended that the Ministry of Education lower the standard for foreigners’ educational qualifications to teach online classes at hagwons -- or private academies -- to match those of domestic instructors.

The Regulatory Tribunal of the Office for Government Policy Coordination recommended that the Education Ministry revise its current standard for foreign instructors teaching online lectures at hagwons to match that for Korean instructors.

Currently, the minimum education requirement for foreigners aiming to land a job at private academies as instructors is a university bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, Koreans in their junior year or above of university or those who have graduated from a community college are eligible to teach as hagwon instructors.

The agency explained that its recommended revisions are based on the view that inappropriate language or behavior by foreign lecturers toward students is less likely in a virtual setting. Meanwhile, it added that the educational requirements for in-person classes requiring direct contact between students and teachers would be made “cautiously.”

The Regulatory Tribunal added that it is necessary to lower the barriers for foreign instructors to expand education opportunities for students outside the metropolitan area.

Private academies outside the greater Seoul area are experiencing a shortage of native English-speaking teachers, as they prefer to be hired and live in the metropolitan area, so the lowered barrier would be able to attract more native teachers across the nation, the agency explained. It added that under the revised requirements, students and after-school cram schools in rural areas would also have the opportunity to access lessons from foreign teachers like those in the city.

The Education Ministry said it plans to accept the recommendations and revise the regulations to ensure the new plans would be properly implemented in the education sector. It did not provide further details on visa requirements or a specific timeline for the revised policy's implementation.

Meanwhile, the current regulations for foreigners who wish to teach in-person at any educational institution with children in Korea will be maintained. These include passing a drug test and health exam, as well as submitting criminal records and a certificate of enrollment or graduation from a certified university.