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Obama says again Korean teachers are paid as much as doctors

U.S. President Barack Obama said again that teachers in South Korea are paid as much as doctors, a notion that is far from reality and which drew a refutation from a Korean teachers' association when he made a similar remark three months ago.

Obama made the latest remark Wednesday while visiting a high school in Oklahoma to launch his "ConnectHome" initiative aimed at expanding high-speed broadband Internet connection to more families across the country, especially for low-income households.

"As president, you travel around a lot, and you go to countries like South Korea where a higher percentage of the population has high-speed broadband. and, by the way, they pay their teachers the way they pay their doctors and they consider education to be at the highest rung of the professions," Obama said, according to a White House transcript.

"We will start falling behind those countries, which is unthinkable when we invented the stuff. It's American ingenuity that created the Internet, that created all these technologies. And the notion that now we'd leave some Americans behind in being able to use that, while other countries are raising ahead, that's a recipe for disaster, and it offends our most deeply held values,"

he said.

Obama has lauded Korea's education zeal and system many times since taking office in 2009.

But the remark about teachers' pay is far from reality. Doctors are one of the highest-paid professions in South Korea, not on par with teachers in terms of pay.

Obama made a similar remark in April, saying Korea's education system "is really doing well" and teachers are "paid at the level that doctors and engineers are paid."

At the time, the Korean Federation of Teachers Association issued a refutation statement, calling Obama's remark a "misunderstanding" and stressing that pay surveys put doctors in the highest-paid category while teachers never make it into such a category. (Yonhap)