As the demand for English teachers continues to grow in China, the country is drafting more rules and regulations in order to regulate the quality of teaching talent that comes through.
In a draft guideline published by the Ministry of Education on July 21, many new proposals were listed in the lengthy document.
Firstly, educational institutions will be expected to provide foreign teachers with at least 20 hours of job training which will cover “the Chinese Constitution, laws, national conditions, teacher ethics, education policies and professional knowledge, teaching ability, etc.” Article 5 states that “It is required that China’s national sovereignty, security, honor, and social public interests must not be harmed.”
As a kindergarten teacher with several years of experience in China’s education sector, Tim doesn’t believe these rules would be enforced tightly if passed. He tells us, “A lot of educational institutions hire teachers without the correct visa and so a lot of places are unregulated. So personally, I feel like these guidelines won’t really change the teaching market here as they won’t be properly enforced.”
A credit system for teachers has also been proposed. Foreign teachers who abide by Chinese laws and contractual agreements, have good ethics and provide quality teaching will find it easier to renew their work permits. This information will also be recorded in a national foreign teacher information service platform which would be accessible to different authorities.
Behavior categorized as ‘untrustworthy’ is listed below, and will also be recorded:
Serious academic misconduct
Engaging in paid work in violation of regulations outside the appointed educational institution
Dismissed in violation of the rules and regulations of the employment agency
Resigning before the duration of contract
China Daily reports, “the credit system will also record those who breach their contracts, commit crimes, use drugs, mistreat underage students or illegally engage in religious education. They should be fired and reported to the education authorities.”
Rob, a Guangzhou-based teacher told That’s, “If you go to a country, especially to work, you need to abide by the laws of the country. I think there are good things about the credit system. Teachers are responsible for kids and any mistreatment of the kids should be reported. Also, making it easier to renew work permits is a benefit.”
Another teacher Miriam, disagrees with the proposed credit system. “In my opinion that is what credible references are for when pursuing further employment. I don’t think a system as such is necessary. If the aforementioned breaches of contract take place, then that can be noted by the employer at the time and for the sake of hiring credible employees, the future employers can consult the references of the candidate. I do agree with that breaches of contract leading to termination and if it’s unlawful then legal action taken... Unfortunately, I see it used as a threat to employees, being abused by an employer who is protected by the government, and misused by unethical companies in place of accepting the blame for their own breach of contract or unethical practices.”
The draft regulation reiterated that all foreign teachers should hold a valid work visa and have a bachelor’s degree or higher and have at least two years of related teaching experience. Those working as language tutors at training institutions should hold a valid work visa, be a native speaker, have a bachelor’s degree or higher and specific qualifications for teaching a language.
Alina, who has worked in foreigns affairs in the educational sector weighed in from an administrative standpoint. She commented, “uploading foreign teacher information to standardize the foreign teacher market is curing the symptoms and not curing the root cause.” She explains that many foreigners who have behaved poorly have not been dealt with by their home country and usually come in with no criminal record. She personally suggests a “national blacklist system for foreigners, so that all schools can freely upload cases.”
[Cover image via Pexels]