China tries to make sure all its English teachers are white
China will soon ban non-native English teachers in a bid to improve the quality of the English language in the country.
In a new work permit system released in October by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, foreign workers would be divided into three categories: expats A, B and C.
The system is currently being rolled out in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and other locations ahead of its expansion in April, according to Shanghaiist.
A system rule requires that all foreign English teachers be native speakers, hold a bachelor’s degree from their home country, and have at least two years of teaching experience.
“If a non-native English speaker has majored in education or has a teaching certificate recognized by our administration, such as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, then the two-year work experience is not necessary,“an email from the administration stated, according to world times.
However, a bachelor’s degree or higher is still required to teach.
Before that, only the bachelor’s degree and two years of experience were required for a valid work visa. But many institutions have managed to hire less qualified candidates.
It’s unclear how many countries qualify as native English speakers, but Noli Castillano Apachicha, a Filipino English teacher working in Beijing, fears losing his job.
“I expect that later I will not be qualified for my work because of this new regulation,he told the Global Times. “It will also avoid many qualified non-native speakers like me who are hoping to come and teach English in China.”
The country has a high demand for English teachers, so it’s unclear how strict the new rule will be.
However, critics have already pointed out that this will lead to a decline in the quality of the English language in China, with higher salaries for native speakers pricing schools in lower-tier cities out of the overseas market.
Apachicha suggests the government should find ways to test a teacher’s knowledge and skills instead of where they were born.
He added: “Why not give teachers a licensing exam to ensure the quality of education Chinese students receive? It doesn’t matter if you are native or non-native; credit should be given to all great teachers, regardless of their nationality.”
Image via Flickr/Frontierofficial
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