페이스북 트위터


  Home > Announcement


  EnglishWork interveiw with Associate Press
 Writer :    Date : 2006-09-06  Hit : 129
Lax screening by Asian schools lets criminals become teachers
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Margie Mason
Associated Press
Bangkok, Thailand- The English-teaching circuit in Asia is filled with transient foreigners, from backpackers needing to make quick cash to recent college graduates looking for experience.

Turnover is high and screening is minimal, creating opportunities for people with phony credentials or even those suspended from teaching at home - like John Mark Karr, the man who says he was with JonBenet Ramsey the night she was killed in her family's basement 10 years ago in Colorado.

Karr taught for a few months in South Korea in 2002, in Honduras last year and at schools in Bangkok this year before his arrest. According to an online résumé, he also worked as a private teacher and caregiver in Germany, the Netherlands and Costa Rica during the past five years.

Yet in April 2001, he had been arrested in California for possession of child pornography. He vanished after serving six months in jail, and his teaching license was suspended a year later.

Schools say there is no easy means of checking up on foreigners applying for jobs.

"A telephone interview, a résumé and a picture of the candidate is all we have," said Kim Soo-ho, an official at Englishwork, a teacher recruiting agency in Seoul, South Korea. "It is physically difficult to check the background of people when they are from overseas."

Convicted sex offenders from various countries have popped up as English teachers in Asia.

"It's a very traditional pedophile strategy," said Bernadette McMenamin, head of the Australian-based advocacy group Child Wise. "If you want to sexually abuse children, what better job would there be?"

She said foreign teachers with criminal histories can easily stay beneath the radar because background information is not readily shared between countries, making the screening process difficult for even the most prestigious institutions. Karr taught first grade for two weeks in June at one of Bangkok's finest schools before he was fired for being too strict.

The demand for English skills in Asia puts pressure on schools to fill job vacancies quickly, said Carmen Madrinan, executive director of Bangkok-based ECPAT International, a network of organizations working to fight commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Fake teaching documents also are cheap and easy to obtain in Asia, and there are jobs for the taking.

Last year in Japan, there were 4,500 foreign-language schools with nearly 14,000 teachers. South Korea had 12,000 native English speakers teaching at private schools as of May.