Robot Teachers in S. Korea

Planned on going to Korea to teach English for a few years? Better think again.

The South Korean government is testing out a four-month pilot program where robots, vaguely shaped like eggs, teach English to elementary school children.

The robot, aptly named “Engkey,” was developed by the Korea Institute of Science of Technology, and displays a female Caucasian face on a telvision display. The robots are controlled remotely by English teachers in the Philippines, and at 10 million won (roughly $9,000), will ultimately cost less than most foreign ESL teachers’ salaries.

“The kids seemed to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting. But some adults also expressed interest, saying they may feel less nervous talking to robots than a real person,” said Kim Mi-Young, an official at Daegu city education office, told “We are helping upgrade a key, strategic industry and all the while giving children more interest in what they learn.”

As of now, the bots are being used as a supplement to human teachers, and are still being tested, but schools and education officials may choose to use the bots full-time.