Guangdong schools to ensure foreign teachers' qualifications

Updated: Aug 8, 2019 China Daily Print
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A foreign teacher teaches Chinese children how to learn English through paintings. [Photo by Meng Zhongde / China Dail]

Some parents have concerns that not everyone working with students legally

The Guangdong Provincial Department of Education is requiring all universities, colleges, schools, kindergartens and related training agencies to check on the backgrounds and establish special files for all foreign teachers before Sept 15.

The notice was issued after the department received a growing number of complaints from parents that some foreign teachers in some training agencies were not qualified, and a few of them were tourists.

The files will be sent to local departments of education, science and technology, public security and foreign experts affairs, said the notice, which was released on the Guangdong Provincial Department of Education website.

In addition to helping foreigners apply for work permits, schools and training agencies are asked to strictly assess the foreign teachers' morality before they are hired, the notice said.

"None of the foreigners are allowed to be recruited as teachers before they have been granted work permits and residence permits," said the notice, which aims to improve management of the growing number of foreign teachers in Guangdong.

All the schools and agencies are required to abide by Chinese laws and regulations in recruiting foreign teachers, according to the notice.

Chen Tianxiang, a professor at Nanfang College of Sun Yat-sen University, said schools and agencies should treat Chinese and foreign teachers equally.

"Chinese people need to be granted teachers' certificates before they become teachers and give their students lessons, and therefore foreigners should also need to be granted work permits and relevant certificates when they want to work as teachers in Guangdong province," Chen said.

The regulation on foreign experts' work permits issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs requires that foreign language teachers in China must obtain a work visa and be a native speaker with a bachelor's degree or higher, have at least two years of related teaching experience and no criminal record.

In 2017, the State foreign experts affairs department said there were 400,000 foreign workers in the education industry in China. About two-thirds were working illegally, either without a proper visa or work permit.

Chen Cuibing, an office worker in Guangzhou, said foreign teachers play an important role in education, particularly in English instruction.

"But I am still in favor of the notice that requires all the foreign teachers to apply for work permits before they start teaching," she said.

Chen said she sent her 8-year-old son to a training agency that hires foreign teachers to learn English every weekend.

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