Have you heard the phrase " Sorry, Mom, I'm unemployed?" When table of occupation for people who applied for the 2018 recruitment exam for teachers was announced last year, fewer teachers were to be hired due to the drop in the birthrate and an excess faculty. The phrase was written on a board carried by a Seoul National University of Education student during the protest, causing strong apposition of others. What is the reason for this?
Although it was known that only a small number of elementary school teachers would be hired in Seoul, the number of vacant seats were enough to accommodate applicants in provincial areas. The estimated number of elementary school teachers to be selected in 2018 was 3,321 across the areas, and the number of graduates from the universities of education was 3,800. It was only 1.14:1 in terms of the national average competition rate. However, the fact that there are a large number of applicants applying for metropolitan area, particularly Seoul, while thee is small number applying for provincial areas. It has created the imbalance of supply and demand between city and town. The worry of the students preparing for the teacher’s exam was that there are lots of problem that public education would face because of the imbalance. Then, what is the imbalance of supply and demand between city and town?
The term means that the supply and demand of teachers in cities and rural areas is disproportionate. If the applicants apply for the exam, the scores of applicants who pass the exam in cities will naturally be raised. Some worry this may lead to a gap in teaching abilities between rural and urban areas, further aggravating regional differences in performance. In fact, reviewing the final score cutline of 2018 teacher certification exams, it is obvious to see this phenomenon. The cutline scores in the cities like Seoul, Sejong, and Busan was around 170, whereas the cutline score of rural sites such as Chungnam was around 100. Even the scores in some rural areas is not presented because there were less applicants than the number of people planned to be selected.
The government has offered a variety of alternatives. One of those, the local bonus system, which gives extra points on assignment by applying for provinces or islands. However, it is not effective, so a perfect alternative is yet to be proposed. In addition, there is another system, if the students of local university of education apply for the school in that local areas, they get additional bonus points. Despite the system, there are still lots of students wanting to work in metropolitan area.
Experts said the imbalance in the supply and demand between rural and urban teachers was the result of the government’s irresponsible policies that were expected. In response, the government announced measures to resolve the problems called the mid-and-long term class plan. The Ministry of Education announced it at the end of April. It says there will be decrease of students per a teacher to the match the OECD average in 2015. However, it did not consider the special characteristics between rural and urban education environments in respect of the number of students per a class. The policy also did not make specific plans on how to supply more teachers.
Readers who are reading this article may think that it is only a matter of primary education. The elementary school students who are placed in the educational environment of inequality will grow up to be middle and high school students, which may further deepen the level gap of education. The problems that begin with primary education lead to the problems found in all public education. Therefore, students at Korea National University of Education, as a future teacher, need to pay attention to the plans set forth by the Ministry of Education.
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