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Sep 30, 2010

Gwangju Ministry of Education (GMOE) Remote Native English Video Classes Receives Very Positive Response

Mr. Soonil Ahn, GMOE Superintendent, participates in a video English class. (Image Credit: Yonhap News)

Yonhap News (Korean AP), Sep 30, 2010 - Over 30,000 students have joined in the new video class service. (Gwangju-Yonhao News) Reporter Song, Hyeongil - Remote classes with US certified native English teachers, which Gwangju Ministry of Education (GMOE) was one of the first in the nation to launch, are receiving a very positive response from students and teachers.


GMOE disclosed Sep. 30 that, “Surprisingly, over 31,600 students are using the video class service for English conversation with U.S public school teachers.”


The project began in earnest the latter part of June and by the end of August 22,300 elementary school students, 7,300 middle school students, and 2,070 high school students are engaged in the service.


Moreover, it is reported that 5,356 students from smaller schools in the farming areas, as well as Education Welfare schools, many of whom need special social consideration, are using the service.


Participating students also study English by directly conversing with the native English speaking teachers one-on-one through their school’s internet video system after school (7:00~11:00 PM).


Early this year GMOE selected 146 instructors from a pool of former and current school teachers, mostly based in Wyoming, US, [Eleutian Technology] for the service. A number of other Korean school district offices of education are now also using live native English video for regular classes, but GMOE is the first one to utilize the service for one-on-one sessions after school hours as well.


While there continues to be a large demand for native English speaking teachers in Korea, there has also been much controversy over the hiring of unqualified instructors. The ongoing GMOE project, however, is recognized as both very cost effective and effective at helping to improve the quality of instruction, as well as student results, through utilizing experienced US public school teachers.


Currently, the number of schools dispatching native English speaking teachers in Gwangju district is only 199, or 2 out of 3, among all 300 schools.


The satisfaction rate of students who have participated in the program is an impressive 93%. They think the classes are fun.


Mr. Oh, Ho-Seong, Chief of GMOE’s International Education Team, said, “This project is an attempt to give more opportunities to study English conversation to students who have not had that chance. I regret that we cannot accommodate all the students who wish to participate in the program.”


SOURCE: Yonhap News (Korean AP)

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