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Teacher Policy in Korea The Adoption Period (by 1960s)

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Advisory Committee

Hong, Song-chang
(Director of Center of International development, Korea Development Institute)
Chun, Se Yeoung
(Professor, Chungnam National University)
Shim, Ik Hyun
(Policy Planing Bureau, Ministry of Education )

Teacher Policy in Korea

Sub-Theme 1 | The Adoption Period (by 1960s)


Pre-service Education and Recruitment

Teacher Shortage and Responses
 
Right after liberation from Japanese colonial rule, Korea faced a serious shortage of teachers who could teach in Korean. The United States Military Government (USMG) during 1945 to 1948 established teacher-training schools (“Normal Schools”) as secondary education and Temporary Teacher Training Centers to supply elementary and secondary schools with more teachers. The Rhee government also established a number of Normal Schools at the secondary level, and teacher training centers (according to the enactment of “establishment of temporary centers of teacher training and re-training” in 1953).[1] Graduates of normal schools were granted teaching certificates upon completion of upper secondary school. So were graduates of high schools who completed an 18-week course at a training center. In 1961, all normal schools were upgraded to two-year teachers colleges; which were later upgraded to four-year institutions, National Universities of Education between 1981 and 1984[2]; 92.7 percent of elementary school teachers had a below normal school academic background as of 1966.[3]

Seoul National University (SNU) was newly established in 1946 with 11 constituent colleges including that of education and a graduate school.[4] SNU worked as one of the key institutions to retraining of in-service teachers, and of vocational education. Educational administration training center for principals and educational supervisors, and “reorientation” center for teachers were also set up in teachers’ college of SNU to improve the quality of teachers.

In addition, to train secondary school teachers, colleges of education were established in Seoul National University and Kyungbuk National University and one independent teachers’college, or Kongju Teachers’ College in 1962 and there were many departments in universities teaching pedagogies and specialized subjects.[5] From 1963, those who completed teacher training courses in general universities, and who finished graduate schools of education could acquire the certificate. The university graduates whose majors were related with industries were also entitled to teacher certificates from 1963, and many private universities were authorized to operate teachers’ colleges in 1965, to prepare students for teaching in secondary schools.


Retaining and Remuneration  

The Basic Education Law enacted in 1949 stated special socio-economic treatment for teachers, and the Public Educational Official Act in 1953 defined status, qualification, service, salaries, and pension. These legal institutions materialized a salary table for teachers independent from that of other public officials. They were also guaranteed their personnel status as public officials, could enjoy job security before retirement, and were to be protected from unfair enforcement of law. The status of teachers as public officials contributed to job security, and also helped the government dispatch them even to remote areas. Owing to this system, the students in islands or other isolated areas could also benefit from mandatory schooling. In addition, with the enactment of pension for public officials in 1962, school teachers in public schools could benefit from the system, which was followed by the adoption of pension for private school teachers in 1973. 


Working Conditions

However, teachers had to endure overcrowded classroom and other unfavorable working conditions. They had to manage two or three shifts of class every day. Even worse, the salary was not competitive either. According to a survey done by the Korean Federation of Teacher's Associations (KFTA),[6] in the early 1960s, the salary of elementary school teachers (KRW 6,220, about US$ 22) was only a half of their required monthly expenditure in Seoul about KRW 12,270. The salaries for middle school teachers, KRW 7,690 and for high school ones, KRW 8,860 also forced them run into debt every month. This matter was a cause for concern not only to teachers but also policy-makers.[7]


International Cooperation for Capacity-Building for Teacher 

At the early stage of the development, the international development cooperation did play important roles in building capacity of teachers and teacher training. George Peabody Project was one of the well-known programs.