It was revealed that there was a blind spot in the hiring process of the Jeju English Education system, so the international schools did not know that some of the teachers they were hiring had a history of sexual harassment and records of sexual crimes.
For close to ten years, after being established back in 2011, foreign teachers were hired without a background check for a history of sexual or any other crimes. They even hired faculty who had a recent record of sexual crimes. Recently, a series of child molestation cases involving foreign teachers have occurred. Those involved have been punished or handed over for trial.
According to the Jeju Provincial Department of Education on July 16th, there have been 1,300 faculty members who have been hired by international schools that were found to have a history of sexual crimes after levels of background checks have been conducted. The schools quickly terminated the contracts of these teachers.
The recent background checks were conducted when a series of sexual harassment occurred throughout the English education centers. The Jeju Provincial Department of Education advised the international schools to conduct these background checks.
Previously, an American teacher from an international school was sentenced to prison last year on charges of molesting four children under the age of 13. The teacher in his 30s with a U.S. nationality was indicted on charges of nine counts of indecent assault on four victims under the age of 13 from March to April 2019. He had stroked the inside of the thigh of a 12-year-old-girl who came to ask him about a math problem after class. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and five years of probation.
Also, recently, a physical education teacher in his 40s with Mauritius nationality was indicted on charges of forcibly molesting three kindergarten children during yoga classes and is currently on trial. The physical education teacher is denying all the charges. However, the parents of the students have lost their trust in this teacher as well as the trust of the school. Currently, the parents are strongly disapproving of the teacher.
Parents have strongly protested against the schools stating, "We thought that the international school would have a more advanced education system than any other schools but there has been a series of sexual harassment among the teachers of the international school. These incidences don't occur even in public schools."
Amidst the incidents, it has been confirmed that international schools only started registering sex offenders in May. It has been almost ten years since the first international school opened in 2011. The public schools, private institutes, and children's welfare facilities in Jeju province have been inquiring background checks on their possible faculty for the history of sexual crimes starting in 2013. The international school has started inquiring background checks seven years later than the public schools and other educational facilities.
The international education system was a national project supported by the Jeju Free International City and the provincial government of Dae Jeong to absorb the demand for studying abroad to prevent the outflow of foreign capital and strengthen the international competitiveness of education.
From 2008 to 2021, the government was to invest 1.9256 trillion KRW (1.63 Billion USD) in 3.79 million square meters (937 acres) of Dae Jeong city to set up seven international schools, residential and commercial facilities, English education centers, and various educational centers along with cultural facilities.
Currently, there are four international schools that have been established, and about 3,600 students in total are attending.