by Kang Shin-who - Staff Reporter

Nearly 90 percent of elementary and secondary schoolteachers in a selective survey said schools should establish a quota for male teachers to correct the gender imbalance.

The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) surveyed a total of 549 teachers; 433 males and 116 females across the nation between July 3 and 6. Most of the respondents replied that they face some problems in teaching and counseling students due to the lack of male teachers.

A total of 89.3 percent said schools need to set up a quota for male teachers to keep the ratio of female teachers from exceeding more than 70 percent. It marks a sharp increase from 62.8 percent in 2007 survey.

Of the female respondents, 73.3 percent expressed concern that the dominance of female teachers could cause lack of role models for male students. Nearly 78 percent of female teachers backed the introduction of steps to resolve the gender imbalance.

However, universities’ elementary school teacher programs have a quota for the number of male students it admits. Women’s groups oppose the quota for male teachers, claiming it is gender discrimination and it may lower the quality of teachers.

Earlier in 2007, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education proposed a quota for male teachers to the ministry but it was rejected and the dominance of female teachers has been getting more pronounced as prospective female teachers have performed better in recruitment tests.

Under the current law on the employment of civil servants, government agencies can adjust gender ratios if recruitment fails to secure more than 30 percent of female or male employees. But the regulation has not been applied to schools.

Asked what were proper measures to increase the portion of male teachers, 49 percent of the surveyed teachers said a quota for male teachers would be a solution, while 47 percent said the government needs to offer various benefits.