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Teachers and native English instructors now required to undergo drug testing

Feb. 27, 2024 - 12:49 By Shin Ji-hye

All teachers must submit a certificate verifying the absence of drug addiction starting this year. (Yonhap)

Drug and substance addiction screenings have been added to the recruitment process of all school teachers in South Korea, including native English speakers on short-term contracts, education authorities said Tuesday.

According to the Education Ministry, the new rule, effective from the start of this year, mandates that teachers will be disqualified if they fail to submit a “confirmation of drugs, cannabis and psychotropic substances addiction test results” within one year of their appointment.

This means regular teachers must submit a certificate verifying the absence of drug addiction once at the time of their initial appointment and again, if and when their qualification advances from second grade to first grade upon completing three years of teaching experience.

For temporary teachers, the updated hiring process introduces an additional hassle, as their contracts could be as short as a few months to a year. With each contract renewal, they must prove their drug addiction status.

The ministry, however, added that only the finalist candidates are required to submit the drug testing results.

The new requirement was introduced following the amendment of the Educational Officials Act on Oct. 18, 2022. The amendment added “addiction to drugs, cannabis or psychotropic substances” as a reason for the disqualification of educational public officials under Article 10, Section 4.