6.03.2011

Breaking news from the Cos:

The Korean teachers are currently tittering all over the place about a document they've received to sign, giving permission for their criminal backgrounds to be checked. The unions are telling their members not to do it, but it's apparently a nationwide move.

What does this mean? I don't want to hear anymore foreigners bitching about criminal background checks. It is now (or will soon be) an across-the-board rule. Which I've mentioned before is something I fully support.

So, hooray for that. One more sterotypical bar conversation I no longer have to endure.^^

Edited to respond to The Metropolitician: Who said I'm not in favor of better interviewing, hiring and screening processes? Who says I think the CBC regulations are not linked to extremely racist media hype and anti-foreigner panic?

I understand some people are not here to teach. But if you are here as a teacher, then you are a teacher. And whose choice was that? The fact of the matter is, CBCs are par for the course in most fields in our home countries that involve working with children. And it would be a shame for even one child to end up molested because something as simple as bothering to check whether or not you're hiring a previously known pedophile to work with kids was neglected. Is it fool proof? No. Neither are condoms. Is it a hassle? Yes. So are condoms.

That doesn't mean you should just go about doing whatever willy-nilly without them, eh?

If you want to criticize the Korean education system for not providing adequate checks for Korean teachers, then by all means do so. If you want to criticize the Korean education system for not providing more effective measures to screen and increase the quality of foreign teachers, by all means do so -- I certainly have, plenty of times. If you want to complain about the inefficiency and absurdity of immigration's way of going about things, go right on ahead -- it certainly is a mess. But none of that relates back to the fact that you need to be able to, at the very least, prove that you've never been convicted of sexual crimes before you are allowed to work with children. No matter what measures that entails.

13 comments:

Lindsay said...

I'm coming to Korea to teach in July, and I had to get clearance from the FBI.

I'm no Picasso said...

...Yes?

Kimchimonkey said...

Finally! At least now idiots on the foreign side will shut up. Plus, Korean teachers should have been having background checks from the get go. It's the least the government can do to protect students.

Gomushin Girl said...

I have very, very mixed feelings on this. I mean, it's not like background checks are a bad idea. Weeding out people who have been convicted of major crimes is a good thing. But the burden is *still* very asymetrical and the initial requirement for foreign teachers was poorly thought out, poorly coordinated and poorly managed. It was and is not any more than a half-assed effort at making panicked parents happy, rather than a true effort to ensure quality teaching and to keep children safe.
This isn't to say that no checks or requirements are necessary - just that the "whining" was often legitimate complaints about arbitrary and difficult to comply with requirements. It was about laziness and the inability of Korean authorities to understand how other systems work (such as Korean immigration whining that they didn't see why foreign embassies couldn't just bend the rules and issue the background checks themselves). And there still isn't much evidence that immigration here is learning from those mistakes - I mean, why are they insisting on apostilles for diplomas instead of sealed transcripts sent directly from universities, which are both more secure and easier to get? It's more theater than well-thought out and implemented policies.

I'm no Picasso said...

GG -- I know my opinion on this one isn't a popular one, but I honestly don't mind the extra checks. And I'm happy to see them putting them in place for the Korean teachers as well. Which is not making me very popular in office and lunch room conversations today.^^

The diploma stuff is obnoxious because it just simply doesn't make sense. And frankly, I'm not very worried about foreigners without degrees roaming all over the country not being able to properly teach the difference between "red" and "blue" to Korean kindergarteners. And I think it's just an annoying smoke screen.

But people with a sexually criminal past are a different story entirely. I don't think checking criminal backgrounds -- no matter how thoroughly -- is unreasonable for people who are being hired to work with children. I just don't. And I'll do whatever they ask me to do in order to comply with efforts that I fully support, no matter who they are aimed at or what reasons they are *really* put into place.

Gomushin Girl said...

My real gripe (if you can call it that - my visa doesn't require a background check) is that there are easy, legitimate ways to do all the things the Korean government would like to have done, but they won't do it that way. No, they have to find the most ridiculous, agonizingly awful way to achieve it.
The easy way would be to ask the visa sponsor/employer to request the check. This would be consistent both with how criminal background checks are usually requested in Korea and in most countries around the world. It would shift the burden to employers, who may also then be encouraged to actually do due dilligence on the people they hire.
Again, I actually don't have real objections background checks, only the way the policy has been enacted and implemented in a very asymetrical and obnoxious way.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

I'm not against background checks IN PRINCIPLE, and with all the "but it's for the CHILDREN! Protect the CHILDREN" reasoning to justify checking foreign teachers, it's about time Korean (hagwon) teachers are also checked to "protect the children".

However, there are still problems with this.

First, Korean criminal records get expunged after 5 years. Rape a child and you too can get a job as a kindergarten teacher 6 years later.

Second, there is still a staggering difference between getting an American CBC and a Korean CBC. The former requires up to 4 months for the check itself, not counting the time and money required for notarizing and apostillizing it. Plus the same procedure for the degree.

What does it cost a Korean in terms of time and money? Five minutes in the cop shop and a chun won?

Third, ... crap I'll have to come back and finish this later. I have an exam to proctor in 5 minutes...

I'm no Picasso said...

That part I don't know enough to comment on, but I know enough about Korean immigration to just take your word for that. I love Korea, but always finding the most direct route to getting things done is not something this country is (or probably ever will be) known for.

I'm no Picasso said...

Darth -- Oddly enough, though, that's not what the foreigners usually complain about. And it's not what the Korean teachers are complaining about either. I don't think it's fair to say that all that it's costing them is five minutes and a buck. They feel like they are ceding real rights here.

But I don't think they are rights that shouldn't necessarily be ceded.

At any rate, I'm not saying it's all equal yet. And as far as the procedure goes, I don't really put much weight on that argument because we are foreigners, and that's kind of just the deal. Anytime you get more than one government involved in something, it's going to be screwy. As are a lot of other things. For example, transfering money into my home account is not as easy as it would be from an American account to another American account, but I don't really feel like I have the right to complain about that, because Koreans can easily transfer their funds between accounts here in Korea. That line of reasoning doesn't really sink in for me.

Now, if what GG has said is true, then I don't know what they're doing. But I'm sure it's probably not intentional, but one of the many things that just doesn't make sense when you deal with governmental agencies of any kind.

karisuma gyaru said...

what are people bitching about? we had to do it before getting accepted for JET... no pedos to teach your children!! lol.

noe said...

I don't complain about it, there's plenty of jobs here in the states that require us to complete a CRC either way. Though I do think, or thought that if you are going to make one group of teachers do it, all teachers should.

Gomushin Girl said...

Oh, it *is* that bad. As I said, when the requirement first went into place, Immigration was shocked, SHOCKED that this was not a document teachers could just get by strolling down to their respective embassy. They publicly complained that they didn't see why it was such a big deal and why the embassies were being so darned difficult. I mean, couldn't they change the rules or something? What was this nonsense from countries where you weren't legally allowed to request your own criminal record check? And then they decided that all Canadians needed a particular form of check - nevermind that it was specific to only a few provinces. This kind of tomfoolery really undercuts their case . . . which, if we really want to get into it, was based entirely on some very ridiculous fearmongering.

Again, not to say that criminal background checks are a bad idea. Just that immigration tends to have its head very, very far up its arse.

superA1 said...

It might make you all feel better (or worse) that the Canadian and American governments are JUST AS bumbling, especially in dealing with "foreigners". Yes, it's tragically true. I've been dealing with piles and piles of red tape around my aging grandmother's move from the US to Canada to be with family, and I have been shocked, appalled, and utterly fatigued by the sheer idiocy of the bureaucratic ranks I have had to deal with in both countries. I could go into grand detail, but let me assure you it is every bit as backward and stuck in 1875 as anything those immigration chigwons can throw at you. And I have tons of Korean friends here in Canada who seem to never cease complaining about how long it takes to get anything done here. So maybe it's just government bureaucracy that sucks, anywhere...