18 Jul 2015

Obama again praises S. Korea for ‘paying teachers the way they pay doctors’

During U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on Wednesday regarding a new government initiative to bring high speed internet access to low-income groups, the topic of South Korea’s education system came up.
“In South Korea they pay their teachers the way they pay their doctors,” he said in front of an audience at Durant High School in Durant, Okla. “They consider education to be at the highest wrung of the professions.”
The reason it came up at all had to do with South Korea’s widespread high speed internet access especially in the city’s capital of Seoul.
Obama voiced a similar statement in April when he said that teachers are ”paid at the level that doctors and engineers are paid.”
In fact, he has frequently lauded South Korea’s education system since taking office in 2009.
But the claim drew criticism because there isn’t hard evidence available that supports the idea that pay is equal among the mentioned professions. In fact, the Korean Federation of Teachers Association (KFTA) pointed out that significant salary disparities exist particularly between doctors and teachers.  The KFTA later mentioned that the assertion was most likely a “misunderstanding.”

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