Hiring Standards For Foreigners Get Tougher; Five Years' Experience Needed for Teachers
Getting a proper job in Beijing just became a bit harder for non-Chinese citizens.
A new regulation now requires foreigners seeking employment as teachers to have at least five years' experience to teach non-language subjects, state-run media reported. Previously, teachers were not governed under separate regulations, requiring only the two years of experience mandated for other positions. It is unclear how teachers who have already obtained Z visas who do not meet this new standard will be handled.
However, language teachers "should have Chinese teacher certificates or international language teaching qualifications, include Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and The Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT)." Clearly local officials believe dealing with unqualified teachers is more important than local students learning English.
Foreigners wishing to be employed in Beijing must also be between the ages of 18 and 60, although the upper limit may be extended to 65 in the case of senior foreign experts. They must hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and have two years of relevant work experience, except in the case of teachers.
Other regulations require that foreign employees have no criminal record in their home country.
The new regulations come on the heels of a recent CCTV report about unqualified English teachers, titled, “Expats unqualified for language teaching in China?” which was chewed on more than mooncakes during the recent Mid-Autumn Festival.
One expat blogger, Nargiz Koshoibekova of The World of Chinese, pointed out: “CCTV often brings attention and controversy due to their reports, and now there is a fear that this could be the beginning of a crackdown on foreign teachers.”
Truth be told, the crackdown started long ago. China Business Central puts it this way:
“Following two years of foreign teacher scandals in China that included the arrest of a pedophile teacher, two rapings of teacher assistants, and numerous acts of drunken violence by foreign expat teachers, the Chinese government has not only issued tougher visa laws in 2013 that require criminal background checks, but their current arrest and deportation rate has nearly doubled since 2012.”
This same story notes that, “In May of 2014 alone, 423 foreign expats were detained by China's visa cops after being caught in random visa checks at their schools with no Z visa in their passports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.”
These new regulations could mean a lot of inexperienced foreigners – many of whom have come to China as economic refugees from the financially flaccid West – may be at the end of their rope, at least in Beijing.
Of course to some in one segment of the English teaching population – those whose professional credentials already exceed this new restriction – this news comes as a relief. Why? Because they want to teach in peace, not constantly fret about being tarnished in public by the acts of a minority of creepy, inexperienced colleagues.
Veteran expats are also ticked off because bad foreign behavior makes life difficult when visa restrictions are suddenly tightened.
One 10-year veteran English teacher based in China e-mailed the Beijinger rejoicing in this news, along with a link to the blog of a teacher, The Unlucky Laowai, that he says is a classic example of the type of teacher that gives the experienced set a bad name. “My last job in Nebraska prior to coming to China was as a pizza delivery boy,” notes The Unlucky Laowai. “I am currently employed at a Chinese university, but I gave them a fake college degree made in Photoshop and I don’t have much teaching experience, so I fear this job won’t last much longer. I was arrested a couple years ago for overstaying my visa, spent a week in detention, and then deported back to America, so I’m skating on thin ice.” (Indeed he was, as he's since been lost his job).
Hard questions now loom: how many unqualified teachers will be netted and let go? How strictly will the 5-year rule be enforced? Will good teachers report bad teachers? Will more viewers tune into CCTV for coverage like episodes of COPS?
Christopher Cottrell contributed to this story.
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Photo: Live The Language