To boost the nation’s falling birthrates and encourage more women to participate in economic activities, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance is considering bringing Filipino women into the country to employ them as babysitters.[...]Anyone care to fill me in on this 'already-dire illegal alien problem'? If that's how the labor ministry feels, it's hard to imagine the ministry of justice being very enthusiastic, but they're taking a 'we'll get back to you later' attitude at the moment. Also, I imagine that "ethnic Chinese babysitters" above is a typo, and likely is meant to say "Chinese ethnic Koreans".
In 2011, only 53.7 percent of women here aged between 30 and 39 were found to be employed, substantially lower than 89.8 percent for men in the same age bracket. Currently, about 200,000 middle-aged Koreans and ethnic Koreans from mainland China with H-2 visas are estimated to work as babysitters. Families raising one child pay Korean babysitters up to 2 million won per month and Chinese childminders nearly 1.5 million won, putting a heavy financial burden on working mothers.[...]
Despite this, the labor ministry expressed concerns, claiming that it will not likely help raise the country’s birthrate nor encourage more women to find jobs.
“There are plenty of people who are already working as babysitters or willing to become one,” said Yoon Young-soon, director of the ministry’s foreign workforce policy division. “Tens of thousands of ethnic Korean women from China are caring for babies of working families. On top of that, a growing number of middle-aged Korean women are looking to become babysitters amid the tightening labor market conditions.”[...]
“The measure will only backfire as it would take away jobs from Koreans and ethnic Chinese babysitters. It could also aggravate the already-dire illegal alien problem” the director said. “If the government wants to raise birthrates and help Korean women keep working, it should make more efforts to build more decent and affordable childcare facilities and make workplaces more friendly for working mothers.”
At any rate, some moms are showing interest in the idea:
“I pay my Korean babysitter 1.5 million won a month for looking after my 4-year-old daughter, accounting for about half of my monthly salary. If she lived with us, I would have to pay more,” said Kim Hye-na, a 33-year-old working mother in Seoul. “If Filipino women come here and work as babysitters, it would certainly bring down the childcare costs. They could also help my daughter learn English. The plan seems to be a good idea.”The teaching English part might work fine, as long as they don't bill themselves as 'native speakers,' as one video English program has. As a Gyeongin Ilbo article titled "Native speakers are 'Filipinos?'" relates in its subtitles, "There are almost no American or English teachers involved in 'Suwon foreign language video learning,'" and there is a "Backlash from parents who signed up for 'native speaker class'"
As the article explains, there is controversy over the fact that 'Suwon native speaker video English learning' (NISE), which was established to relieve private English education costs, is mostly taught by Filipinos.
Started in 2008 in Nowon-gu for students from elementary grade 3 to middle school grade 3, 1.7 billion won was spent on the program which is operated by YBM.
Last September Suwon made a deal with Nowon-gu and from October students were gathered for an identical system in Suwon. It costs 68,000 won for two months and four students wearing headsets share conversations with an English instructor via the internet.
However, when parents who believed the 'native speaker' label signed up for it, they found out most of the instructors are Filipino, which led to complaints because Filipinos are not viewed as being native speakers and are not included in the 7 countries usually included under that label.
An investigation found that, of 120 instructors at Nowon-gu's video call centers in Makati and Cebu, 95% are Filipino and 5% are from the US or UK.
YBM defended this, saying, "In truth, seeing the progress of this education, Filipinos teach students even better than instructors from the US or Canada, and they are a better match for our sentiments/emotions."
Or to put it another way, they "understand Asian values very well."
A Suwon official says that there's not much to be done now, what with classes involving some 500 students in progress, but issues that have arisen can be dealt with in the future.
While there really shouldn't be a problem using Filipinos for video classes, you'd think YBM would have figured out that billing them as native speakers would lead parents here to feel cheated.