South Korean firms using sexy female teachers to motivate young men to learn English
Nirapad News : South Korean businesses are using young, attractive female teachers to entice people into learning English online.
The country’s citizens spent more than £3.5billion pounds on private education to learn the language in 2013 alone.
But with 17,000 private academies across the country, one company is using the power of sex appeal to stand out in the ultra-competitive market.
‘Goddess of English’ is a Seoul-based education website that specialises in video lessons taught exclusively by women who are young, attractive and immaculately groomed.
The site features individual profiles of all of its teachers who have nicknames such as ‘business Cinderella’ and ‘English pronunciation goddess’.
And to apply for a job with the company, would-be teachers need to provide at least three profile pictures.
The companies Chief Executive says there is ‘no doubt that people will want to see lessons more if the teacher is pretty and attractive’.
Yang Jae-hoon told MailOnline: ‘It’s just a case of preparing our teachers so their appearance comes out well on screen, to innocently increase motivation for education.’
He says many of the site’s 5,000 paying members are men in their 20s studying for state exam and older men who need English for business, but an increasing number of women are signing up too.
But the website has caused some controversy in the image-dominated society where cosmetic surgery is common and job-seekers attach their picture to applications.
Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper, reported on growing concern that even education is suffering from the country’s pervasive ‘lookism’.
Another educational website called ‘Red English’ which featured teachers donning much racier attire launched last year but closed down within a few months.
A former ‘Goddess of English’ teacher – who wishes to stay anonymous – says the curriculum it teaches is poor.
She added: ‘I think that in a society without laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring practices, it’s not surprising that a business would try this kind of thing to attract customers.’
Even normal English academies called ‘hagwon’ in South Korea are often accused of discriminating in employment on the basis of appearance, gender and race.
‘If you look at posters advertising English courses at any hagwon, you can see the most attractive teachers everywhere promoting their courses,’ the former teacher said.
But Yang insisted he prioritises his recruits’ teaching abilities and never hires them solely for their appearance.
He said: ‘Above all, we judge a teacher the most on her mind and character. Today’s star teachers see that it is important to be able to empathize with students. Second is the teacher’s English and teaching ability.’