Learn English with an Indian accent?

I have nothing against the Indian people. Seriously - they work incredibly hard for a fraction of what the rest of the world gets paid. They study harder than virtually anyone on the planet (that includes the Koreans) and have a vibrant history I would love to learn more about. I have had few difficulties conversing with the far-too-few Indians I've had the pleasure of meeting.

But this is a flat world (see Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat for reference), and that means competition. A LOT more competition. That's great if you're a business or a customer - who doesn't like having many different stores to shop at and choices to choose from?

If you're an employee, though, that flat world is probably more threatening to your current job / lifestyle than almost anything out there. Think about it - why would an employer keep someone if they can get the same thing from someone else for cheaper?

The story was first reported in the Joongang Daily, and has been blogged about by Brian in Jeollanam-do and Stafford of the Chosun Bimbo. A few quotes from the Joongang article:

The [Education] ministry will recruit around 100 Indians early next year and if the trial is successful, it could raise the number to 300. The source said there is a high chance that those teachers will be dispatched to regions outside the Seoul metropolitan area where there is a shortage of native English teachers.
So only 300 Indian teachers among 20,000 or so native English teachers already here? The NETs don't have too much to worry about... right?
Korean schools introduced the so-called English Program in Korea project in 1995 for “globalized education” and set the goal of allocating one native English teacher for conversation with students for every class. Currently, there are 7,088 assistant native English teachers employed but they are from seven English-speaking countries - the United States, Australia, Britain, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Their monthly salary ranges between 2 million won ($1,700) and 2.5 million won.
Bear in mind that it's 7,088 teachers just in the public school system. Include native teachers in hagwon or universities and you're easily over 20,000.

On the low end, $1,700 x 12 = $20,400 / year; not precisely the stellar wage one might expect for a teacher. Even including the 'free' apartment (which is often being replaced by a housing allowance that may or may not cover the actual cost of housing), a certified / 'qualified' teacher may do better / have a better standard of living in their home country.
The ministry has spent more than 300 million won a year on hiring and training those teachers but experienced difficulty gaining sufficient “qualified” teachers, given that only 13 percent of them have official teaching certificates.
Finally - a partial definition on what being a 'qualified' teacher actually means - a freakin' piece of paper. This continues to beg the question - if you want teachers with a piece of paper, why haven't you made it part of the job requirement? Then, pay them what they're worth - if we can make the same amount in our home country, there's little reason to pay for a flight over (reimbursement doesn't count if you leave within 6 months and they take it out of your last paycheck), learn a new culture, prove our cleanliness / certifications / qualifications, and otherwise put up with live in a foreign culture.

Another thought: Korea is not hurting for applications anymore - Footprints Recruiting recently sent out an e-mail saying SMOE has already received enough applications for jobs starting in Spring 2010. It's November 2009. You do the math.
Park Jun-eon, a professor of English language and literature at Soongsil University, said competition for jobs will intensify if the Korean government brings in native speakers of English from Asian countries such as India and the Philippines who might better understand Asian cultures.
Hmm - this might be a valid point. The caste system of India would seem similar to the Confucian way in Korea. They would be more used to the food and lifestyle, being from a relatively similar country.

I seriously doubt a majority of native English teachers in Korea will be replaced anytime soon. It continues to look good if a school has a white face in the classroom, and it makes parents happy. But there is a lot more competition than there used to be. The solution? Be the best teacher you can be. Avoid just showing up on time, and just doing your job - there are far more ways of getting involved around a school. When's the last time you made a worksheet or got out of the textbook (assuming you're allowed to do that?) Make it - show it - let your other teachers use it if they like. Act like you care about being there and doing a great job - no matter what your fellow NET's are doing. Be a professional about the job. Be thankful for the job - and if it's a crappy job, get out. No one's holding a gun to your head saying you have to stay here.

If competition has gone up and the bar has been raised, there's only so much we can do about it. We can, however, become indispensable or helpful to the point that no Indian (or any other nationality) can take our job.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2009



Learn English with an Indian accent?

Hi Chris,

I am proud to be an Indian. I find your statement offensive "they work incredibly hard for a fraction of what the rest of the world gets paid". Please get your facts straight, before you start again.

As for English with an Indian Accent, what is wrong with that? English as a language need not be learnt with American or Canadian or Irish or Australian or UK accent. Each one of these so called Native English speaking countries have their own, typical accent, totally unique. In last 10 years, Indians writers have probably got Booker's award than any of the Native English Writers.

Keep your Racial views strictly under wraps, else Indians are coming that's for sure.

Sanjay, you seem to have

Sanjay, you seem to have trouble reading and understanding english.  How are Chris' remarks offensive? Please don't use the racism card to fight your way through Korea.  It's not your country, you are not Korean so you are a guest.  I think Indians do work hard and many are good honest people but i agree it is very difficult to understand Indian English accent.  When i studied in university, everyone in my lecture agreed we could not understand every 3rd word from our Indian Professor because of his heavy accent.  Even as native speakers, we had trouble understanding his english in our lectures.  Imagine how hard it will be for korean kids to understand?


Well concidering that India

Well concidering that India is not one of the seven countries listed by Korean immigration to legally teach English(E2,E1), you can not get a visa unless you are part of this special pilot project. You are not and therefore seeking illegal private employment.

I have been in Korea for 15 years, I have heard that the Filipinos and Indians are coming to take our jobs away(G7) for probably 13 of those 15 years. It has not happened, it will never happen en mass. Why? Korean mothers will not go for it. End of story. They do not want the accents nor do they .....I can't go there it will be modded faster than a dog meat joke. I'm sure most of you that have lived in Korea for along time now what I'm going to say.

Once again, the ministry can set up all the programs they want. Reason one; Korean mothers will not go for Asian English teachers no matter how qualified they are. Reason two; catch one of these people with a fake degree or involved in a police matter and watch the whole house of cards fall down. It only takes one out of the 100 or 300 or 5000, makes no difference.


You seem to be so knowledgeable about striking out these Asian English teacher claiming them to "have criminal record. Or else having a fake degree or whatever".. It’s really so convincing.. 
Have you ever been to Europe? And if not, I might as well say, that even there.. “Koreans are belittled by Europeans”. In the same way you belittled Asian teachers now. LoL
In my personal experience as an F2 visa holder and as an ESL teacher here, Korean parents LOVE me as an English teacher even if I am a FILIPINO.  I even got several part times and a Full time at that. And I’m earning more than that of a regular salary! And my former hagwon isn’t a small one, I must say! And I have been exposed publicly when I was still working with them. I even earned the RESPECT from my director and family.
Why do I have to elaborate on this? To let you know that NOT ALL (once again) Asian teachers, a FILIPINO teacher in my case, just bring along rubbishness in their job here as ESL teachers.
 And with regards to the validity of the documents of the applicants it’s not within your jurisdiction to say if they got FAKE DEGREES else having a criminal record. It’s for the recruiter or the hagwon to verify on that. And that is SOP. Therefore, you are way out of BASE again.
And For Your Information, there are a lot of Korean Students streaming their way down to THE PHILIPPINES every year plainly because their MOTHERS send them there. There are a lot of Korean Directors in my country as well as English hagwons. It has, in fact, been a fashion already.
So with what you are saying that MOTHERS DONT WANT THEIR KIDS BE EDUCATED IN ENGLISH WITH ASIAN ENGLISH TEACHERS, I strongly disagree. Do you think these parents who send their children, say for example, to the Philippines for English Education, so STUPID? And I don’t think these Korean parents don’t have the money to send them to other countries like in the States.
 Come to think of it? Its reality and it’s a matter of choice by Individuals and not by you CONCLUDING that “Korean mothers will not go for Asian English teachers no matter how qualified they are.”
 Bunch of Crap!
The point is that YOU bombarded Asians here with your narrow-mindedness and One-sidedness. Why don’t you flip the other side of the coin, maybe then you can see the other view of the world.

 I never said you or your

 I never said you or your people were loaded up with fake degrees. You need to re-read and understand my post. I said this house of cards is planned to fail when one bad apple ruins it for the rest. Look at the problems a few teachers with fake degrees from a Canadian university caused 15,000 of us a few years back. Sealed transcripts, apostolling nonsense, scrutiny all because of a handful of teachers. 

 The Phillipines isn't the first choice of Korean mothers to send their children. If they do send them there it's economic. They simply can't afford to send them to the west.

I'm not feeding the fire by the way, Koreans have this pre-determined or bias against south-east asians anyway. Yes, I have been to Europe and most Europeans when they think of Korea think dog meat. I don't understand your point, are all Germans Hitler in disguise? Everyone everywhere has a bias against everywhere else. The Chinese are dirty, the Italians are slick and casanovas, the Greeks are hairy.

Also the MOE and immigration have determined that there are 7 countries that qualify as native speaker status. We can have this agrument till the cows come home, why don't you try changing this instead of shouting at a wall? 

MOE and Immigration

Thats not at all generally speaking. Economic reason could be one reason for sending their kids to the Phil however that is NOT an ABSOLUTE reason to conceive. You are being ONE- SIDED again.

First or last choice may it be, it doesnt have that much bearing at all coz the point is:

Korean parents still choose to send their children to the Philippines for English Education and that is their own, unpersuaded decision.

Fake degrees and those stuffs are within the jurisdiction of the employers and recruiting agencies for verification. I dont wanna elaborate on that since we are all knowledgeable about that aspect.

There has always been a conflict and ambiguity between MOE and the  Immigration  regarding the F2 visa holders to wit:

1. Immigration says that F2 visa holders, being married to Korean nationals, therefore presumed to stay here in Korea, CAN work any kind of job (theres no specifications abt its restrictions); and

2. MOE only allows 7 countries entitled to be issued an E2 Visa.

So where do the  F2 visa holders  who dont belong to the aforementioned 7 countries  fall in? IN THE MIDDLE..

And that conflict is still unresolved til now. .

That is according to the Law.. but reality speaks differently. And we are all aware of it. Im sure you know what I'm refering to.





Well of course we don't know

Well of course we don't know absolutely, I'm not a mind reader. Economics does play the most significant part of the equation though.  If the Philippines was expensive who would send their kids there? No one.

You said I'm one sided, there is only one side; money. Those who have get the best education possible those who don't make due with what is available to them.

In addition to my last

In addition to my last post, about 90% of all F2/F5 people are mail order brides from south-east asia. The English teacher with an F2 is certainly not the norm and represents about 10% of all of these visas issued.

You are correct, people with F2/F5 can gain pretty much any employment they chose but in-house rules at the MOE or school itself would eliminate the majority of these people anyway.

new issue at hand

What you said is general. And yes, that is right..

But it still depends on the person...

You are way out of the main issue and you are branching out, however I want to reply on your last post.

Have you come to think of it that  these so- called F2/ F5 Maid to Order Brides can teach English? I dont think so since their level of Education is way down low.. and commonly, their means of communication with the Korean spouse would be in Korean language. Get the pic?

Im sure there are lots of users here with an F2 or an F5.. and probably, YOU are one of these users,, arent you?

Till then..


I have an F5 visa and yes any

I have an F5 visa and yes any of these catalog brides from anywhere could  teach English. I don't know many that would speak English on a level of being able to teach it to others but it is possible. All they need is the visa to keep the immy dogs at bay. They would most likely speak better Korean being married to one.

 I know of a Russian woman who is married to a Korean national that teaches English at an institute. I don't know what the parents would think of that if they learned that she isn't a native speaker. Perhaps the parents know, I would certainly doubt that they do. I'm sure the MOE doesn't know either but hogwans are almost impossible to keep tabs on.  

 I can't see a Vietnamese  mail order bride teaching English in any gov't school ever no matter if it's perfectly legal for her to do so. Like I said, the MOE would have it's in house hiring rules as would a local school.