The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations has introduced a new transparent system of screening tests for knowledge of the Korean language for citizens who want to find a job in the Republic of Korea, the ministerial press service reports.
In this regard, the Ministry clarified the situation and outlined the advantages of the new system in order to avoid biased interpretations and assessments.
According to the Memorandum signed between the Labor Ministries of the parties for employment in Korea, citizens of Uzbekistan must pass two stages of testing for knowledge of the Korean language, one of them is preliminary, the other – the main test (EPS-TOPIK). The EPS-TOPIK test is conducted by the Korea Human Resource Development Service (HRD). Until recently, preliminary testing was carried out by only one organization located in the city of Tashkent, which created a monopoly position, and also caused inconvenience and costs for citizens from the regions.
The organization conducting the tests did not set rating indicators for assessing citizens’ knowledge depending on the test results. Responsibility for selection of citizens for the next stage of testing was assigned to the Agency for External Labor Migration, which was not able to verify the accuracy of their results. In addition, the preliminary test questions were developed in Uzbekistan by domestic universities and were not related to EPS-TOPIK questions accepted by the Korean side, which caused inconvenience for applicants.
Thus, the system of screening testing was opaque and incomprehensible to citizens, which gave a way to corruption risks and public discontent. In addition, the Korean side has repeatedly complained about the low level of knowledge of the Korean language by the citizens of Uzbekistan and recommended improving the quality, as well as eliminating the monopoly of the pre-selection system.
The Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of September 12, 2018 introduced a new system of accreditation of centers for assessment of professional and linguistic competencies of citizens traveling to work abroad.
According to the new order, the monopoly was terminated and, for the convenience of citizens, conditions were created for testing the knowledge of a foreign language in regions of the republic. The preliminary tests of the Korean language knowledge were newly developed and are now close to EPS-TOPIK. It is important that test centers can participate in a preliminary testing system based on an agreement with the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, where the powers, rights and obligations of the parties are clearly defined.
Test centers independently determine and provide the Agency for External Labor Migration with a list of citizens who have the best test scores (over 70% of the maximum possible score). At the same time, the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations has the right to check randomly the accuracy of test results, including with the assistance of foreign experts. A dynamic rating is introduced on-line, where every citizen can freely access the results of the tests passed on the ministerial website.
The new system will increase the parties’ responsibility for reliability and transparency of testing, encourage citizens to learn Korean, and establish a high level of knowledge as the only criteria for passing tests and further employment in Korea.
Citizens, who have passed the preliminary exam before the new system introduction, will be included in the dynamic rating if they have certificates of competence issued by test centers.