A foreign face no longer enough? In a bid to improve the quality of English language education in the country, the Chinese government has raised the bar for foreigners hoping to gain employment teaching the language.
Marco (pseudonym) from the Philippines worked as an English teacher in Beijing from 2006 to 2011. Even though he changed jobs and is now a marketing manager at an educational institution, he still loves to teach and would consider returning to the classroom. So, naturally, he was very disappointed when he heard that this avenue of employment might no longer be open to him.
“Foreigners from non-native English speaking countries can no longer teach English in China at any level unless they have a bachelor degree or above from an English-speaking country plus two years’ working experience in English language education,” according to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs’ email reply to Metropolitan. “If a non-native English speaker majored in education, or has a teacher’s certificate recognized by our administration, such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate, then the two years’ work experience is not necessary,” the administration said, emphasizing that “a bachelor degree or above is still a must.”
According to a 2015 Chinese Business View report, many non-native English teachers failed an evaluation administered by a professional interpreter in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, due to their poor pronunciation. The report said a large amount of non-native English speakers are still working as English language teachers in second- and third-tier cities. The reason it said was that most native English speakers were reluctant to go to small cities, causing the quality of English language education in those areas to suffer.
Mu Yanwen, the founder and CEO of Boto Education, an English-language education institution based in Beijing, spoke of meeting an English teacher from Ukraine on his business trip to Shenyang, Liaoning Province in 2015. “When I asked him about his job, he told me that what he did in the school was ‘just being white,'” said Mu. “He said his Caucasian face convinces the students’ parents that the school offers professional English-language education, but his English was not that proficient.”
Marco thinks it’s a pity that a lot of qualified non-native English speakers cannot teach the language though they can educate well and have good classroom experience “I feel bad about it. But what else can we do? Well, I am hoping for the best. I hope there will be changes in policy in the future,” Marco said.
Some of the information is not exactly correct or may be correct in some provinces and doesn’t refer to the newest laws coming out May 1st. He is trying to give you as much information as it happen and you can see more of his videos at https://www.patreon.com/SerpentZA?ty=h