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The Global Education City cookout creates debateNative English teachers ask questions about the Global Education City
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승인 2009.11.26  13:45:23
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The Jeju Weekly has covered the Global Education City proposal for months now. Recently, Project Manager Christopher Bogden, along with the Jeju Development Center, hosted a cookout for Jeju Island foreign teachers to attend, dine and ask any questions regarding the construction and future plans of the education city. The cookout was held at the Nature Country Restaurant in Jeju City, November 8th. The event kicked off with a performance from the island’s local Nanta group. Shortly after, the questioning began with approximately 100 guests; Jamie Carson, an English Professor at the Jeju Tourism College attended and found the experience informative. She, like several other foreign ESL teachers, wanted to find out if the educational city would be a possible place of employment in the future. Carson said she believes the new city would be an opportunity for only a portion of the foreigner teacher population.

“Many teachers here are the type that are here for the year and then they are gone. Another large percentage is grossly under-qualified to teach. The standard that is set by the schools that will be participating will be for professional teachers—teachers with certification, not some ridiculous online TOEIC certificate. The good thing is that there is time for teachers that are interested to go ahead and get the education and training that they need to reach professional standards.”

Questions regarding those particular qualifications were somewhat answered. Bogden claimed most requirements are largely up in the air and will depend on what the independent schools involved in the city choose in their hiring process. Other questions regarding costs and who is allowed to attend were also speculative. Bogden explained the intent of the city is to have an entirely English based community, requiring all workers and business ventures to speak only English—how this will work on a practical level is still being discussed.

Bogden says the estimated tuition cost lies somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand American dollars. A native Jeju University student, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he believes this will create a new social divide among the Jeju community. He also said before arriving to the cookout he had different perceptions of what the goal of the new education city was; purely educational. Now, he says he feels it is more of a business venture. The student also said he worries there will be increased crime on the island.

Virginia Blackney is a hagwon teacher on the island. She too says she disagrees with the elitist approach the educational city is considering. “To be honest, the proposed education city may benefit Jeju, however, it may instigate an elitist divide in class. I feel this may occur, due to the education costs being estimated in excess of twenty thousand dollars.” Blackney also said she would not be interested in working for the new city. “Personally, I’m not particularly interested in applying for a job there as I ideally would like to work for a group geared towards providing educational opportunities for children from all economic backgrounds.”

The overall consensus though is that the city is good for Jeju Island in that it will bring new development, industry and job opportunities. Blackney remarked, “I feel the construction of the education city is interesting and potentially a great educational opportunity for those who fall within the designated financial bracket. I hope with further development the creators may be able to make their fees more attainable for the greater community. ”

Jamie Carson says she believes the proposed city will aid in progressing the island. “Honestly, I think that not only this project, but the other core projects have the ability to take Jeju from a country town to something special. A unique place in Korea and in Northeast Asia that is multicultural and determined to provide the best for not only the people that live here, but those who will make their future home here. I think that the English Education City is an ambitious, but well thought out plan.”

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