Tuesday, August 7, 2012

EPIK will give preference to offline TEFL qualifications

Cliff from Teach Korea has posted this:

TeachKorea constantly gets eMails asking us about the legitimacy of online TEFL/TESOL courses. While we have always been reticent to encourage these courses the fact is that they are currently recognized in Korean Public Schools provided they are a certified 100 course hours or longer.

This is about to change. The following communique has been released by English Program In Korea (EPIK) As EPIK is the largest national program in South Korea it is just a matter of time before this becomes the new standard for public school recruitment.

"In recent terms, the application process has gradually become more competitive. At this point, it is almost impossible for level 3 applicants to secure a position with the EPIK program. As such, the most common way for level 3 applicants to increase their qualifications would be to enroll in a TEFL or TESOL course.
  Currently, we accept a minimum 100 hour TEFL or TESOL certificate as a qualification criteria for level 2 or higher pay grade, regardless of how the course was taken. However, starting from the Fall 2013 term, when we recommend candidates to the POE/MOEs we will give a priority to the applicants possessing a minimum 100 hour TEFL or TESOL with at least a 20 hour offline, in-class component, as opposed to those who only completed a strictly online course. We strongly advise you to take the TEFL or TESOL programs including at least a 20 hour offline, in-class component. This decision was made to meet requests from the POE/MOEs and schools who wish to have the most qualified Guest English Teachers possible."

A consequences that must be kept in mind is that people who have done online courses in the past and are currently working in Korea or start their first contract with a purely online course before the new requirement takes effect will very likely find they have to sacrifice a salary level increment when they sign up for a second contract.
 Interesting. Yet another reason to do a PGCE or an offline, classroom-based TEFL course - having completed an online TEFL course, I think that if I had gone to Korea with only that, I would be completely unqualified to teach. Having the experience of standing in front of 50 blank young faces is a lot easier if you do it in your own language, in your own country, before doing it (for money) somewhere strange and new. So, if you're planning to go to South Korea, maybe you should bear this in mind.

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