I think this may be a good news for Filipino workers in general. I’m just not confident it will be a good thing for Filipino English teachers. Gyeonggi-do is the province encircling the city of Seoul. Their education office is planning to hire Indian and Filipino English-speakers to work at the school cafeterias and stores to encourage students to use the language. I have seen job ads here targeting Filipino English-speakers for non-teaching jobs at private schools (hagwon). The salary being offered (600,000 won) is less than what a Filipino could earn in a factory.
“We will encourage schools to hire Indians and Filipinos for English zones and school stores to give students opportunities to use English during lunch and break times,’’ it said in a statement. It expects schools to hire them at relatively lower costs than native English speakers. About 50 schools in the province will initially test run the scheme.
Frankly, I don’t want to see Filipino English teachers working here as cafeteria or store sellers. I hope that government officials back home would not allow that to happen. I’d rather they promote the Philippines as a tourism/ESL destination for Korean students. It would be like hitting two birds with one stone. Sending Filipino teachers here to work at school cafeterias or stores is not that different from sending our licensed teachers to work in Hongkong as domestic helpers. The only difference is the setting. They still wouldn’t be able to practice their profession.
“Cheap doesn’t mean low quality. We have many high-quality English teachers in the Philippines,’’ said Jed Dayang, spokesman of the Philippine Embassy to Seoul.
A source from Indian embassy also said that Indians will not come to Korea to work at stores at schools, mentioning that there are many high-quality English teachers working in the U.S., Japan and China.