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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #87)

September 25, 2010

I hope the everyone had a great Chuseok holiday and that no one was majorly affected by the wild weather over the week.  At least this gives us plenty to talk about with our students next week.  Seoul Reflections

Here are the stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.




English language education in Korea, fad or the future?

About one-third the size of Japan, South Korea now outspends its Asian rival by a margin of three to one in English language education, according to unofficial industry estimates. Dave’s ESL Cafe, an Internet site where learners and teachers of English convene, is significant for having its own “Korea Job Board.” The only other country that has its own job board is China, and China has the most people on Earth.

While Japan spent billions of yen in the 70’s and 80’s trying to learn English and later gave up, the South Koreans’ craze for learning English continues.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Yonhap News)

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Korea’s college graduation rate highest in OECD

Korea’s university and graduate school completion rate tops among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the organization’s annual educational index.

Over 98 percent of Koreans aged from 25 to 34 graduated from junior college, university or graduate school, showed the OECD’s 2010 Education at a Glance report released Tuesday.  Korea was thus ranked first in the category among 39 respondent countries — 32 OECD member states and seven non-member states.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Herald)

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Efforts to end overwork not working

Punching out at 5:30 p.m. sharp has never been possible for Song, a 35-year-old employee of a midsize engineering company in Yeouido, central Seoul. Although his official working hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., nobody leaves the office on time.

“Since my wife works, we take turns picking up our baby from a day care center. But I’ve never left the office at 5:30 p.m. I linger in the office for about 30 minutes and leave at around 6,” said Song, who asked to only be identified by his surname.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: JoongAng Daily)

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South Africa attracts more Korean school kids

A growing number of Korean mothers are taking their children to study in South Africa, which has the advantage of being English-speaking but is less costly than the U.S. The number of study permits issued by the South African Embassy in Korea doubled from 226 in 2001 to 461 last year.

According to the Korean Embassy in South Africa, around 4,000 Koreans lived there as of May this year, a quarter of them believed to be teenage students and one or more members of their family.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Chosun Ilbo)

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Korean teachers in US campaign for Chuseok

NEW YORK ― This Chuseok, Korean teachers in New York City public schools have a special favor to ask their students: don’t go to school. Stay home, enjoy time with family and celebrate the Korean holiday, they say. This isn’t to get students in trouble, but to get one of Korea’s most important traditional holidays recognized in the U.S., or at least in New York.

The Korean American Teachers Association of New York (KATANY) is leading the campaign to ensure that Chuseok becomes an official school holiday, similar to how many Jewish holidays are observed.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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Chinese students ride Korean Wave to South Korea

Chinese students are flocking to colleges and universities across the country. According to official statistics, the number of Chinese studying in South Korea has increased almost 10-fold over the past six years to 53,461, 70 percent of the entire foreign student population in South Korea.

Meanwhile, China has also emerged as one of the most popular destinations for South Koreans studying abroad, numbering 66,800 last year. This influx of Chinese students to South Korea is unprecedented in the long history of Sino-Korean exchanges that spans thousands of years.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Yonhap News)

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School ranking ban

The education authorities still maintain the policy of the “three nos” ― no high school rankings, no entrance exams administered by each university, and no acceptance of students in return for donations. Needless to say, the policy is intended to curb soaring spending on private tutoring and ease excessive competition for college entrance.

However, many universities have come under criticism that they are stealthily favoring applicants from elite high schools, especially specializing in foreign languages or science. They have flatly denied allegations about their involvement in the unfair and illegal practice of discriminating against applicants from ordinary high schools.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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Decoding my Korean workplace: an NET’s class schedules

So I’ve returned this semester to my teacher’s desk more confident, a bit more cocky and… ahem, a tad lazy. Inevitable. This is second semester and I’ve had 6 months worth of grueling experience to prime me for this lounging funk.

What’s changed since last semester? I’ve come to trust the process, know the expectations set for me and understand what my co-teachers’ bring to the table in work habits and teaching personalities. While the situations and events arising around my teaching schedule aren’t always predictable, my method of accepting and dealing with them has gotten to be… predictable.  I’ll take that as balance!

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: GRRRL Traveler)

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This week’s joke: He has to be brave

A blind man wanders into an all girls biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the waiter, “Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?”

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent.

In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, “Before you tell that joke, sir, I think it is only fair – given that you are blind – that you should know five things:

1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat;

2. The bouncer is a blonde girl;

3. I’m a 6 foot tall, 175 lb. blonde woman with a black belt in karate;

4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter; and

5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler …

Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?”

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters, “No, not if I’m gonna have to explain it five times.”

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