A version of this article originally appeared on our sister website, Urban Family Shanghai.
By Yuzhou Hu
The job market for foreign English language teachers is undoubtedly very active in China due to high demand from parents looking to give their children a head start. But improper training remains a problem in the industry, with unqualified teachers recently reported at educational institutions across China.
Earlier this month, an administrative director of a private kindergarten in Beijing named Xia was sentenced to eight months in prison and fined 10,000 RMB. This was handed down by Beijing’s Tongzhou District People’s Court after he was found guilty of buying fake diplomas from a foreign teaching agent named Wang, who received the same sentence, according to The paper.
Image via Sohu
In 2017, Xia recruited two foreign “teachers” into her kindergarten (one from Serbia and the other from Ukraine), who did not have university degrees or valid visas.
According to the State Foreign Experts Affairs Administration (SAFEA), foreigners must hold a bachelor’s degree or above and have at least two years of relevant work experience to obtain a work permit. Therefore, the two expats were not qualified to work in kindergartens or apply for work visas.
To validate their stay in kindergarten, Xia bought diplomas made from Wang for 16,600 RMB. However, the fake diploma was recognized on the spot as one of the foreigners applied for a work permit from the Beijing Foreign Affairs Administration. When asked where these fake diplomas came from, Wang replied, “I created them in Photoshop. The two expatriates have since been repatriated.
Image via Sina
Xia’s case is not an isolated incident. Wang Yishi, a SAFEA official, said People’s Daily that there were around 400,000 foreign teachers working in training centers across the country last year, and only a third of them held the appropriate certificates.
Last summer, Shanghai cracked down on more than 500 disqualified educational institutions, which were told to stop recruiting students and remove inauthentic advertising. However, many of them are still currently in operation. One of the operators even called the education industry “the most stable industry to invest your money in”.
This rogue behavior in the education industry may be partly due to the growing number of children starting their English studies before entering primary school. “I enrolled my daughter in English classes when she was only 5 years old,” a relative named Lin told Sohu. “I thought I was already far-sighted. However, when I arrived, a member of staff asked me what had taken me so long. According to her, other five-year-olds had been learning for more than two years.”
Incidents like these are undoubtedly a cautionary tale for parents and teachers.
[Cover image via Sohu]
A version of this article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).