Foreign teachers may see tighter requirements

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Foreigners who intend to work as teachers in China may face higher thresholds as employers nationwide are expected to copy a Beijing regulation that requires teachers to have previous teaching experience.

Under the new regulation released on Sunday, all foreign teachers who begin working in the capital after Oct 31 must have at least five years' teaching experience.

Language teachers are required to have teacher qualifications or other international language teaching qualification certificates, such as TEFL and TESL.

China has more than 50,000 training centers for about 300 million English learners, according to a Ministry of Education report in 2013.

Many education experts and officials have voiced concern about inadequate supervision of foreign teachers of English.

"Some foreigners teach English only because they can speak it and have no idea of teaching methods," said an anonymous Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau official who is in charge of the issue. "So it's necessary to raise the threshold to improve the quality of teaching."

Stephen Farley, a recruiting manager from EF Education First, an education company, said it's essential to choose qualified foreign teachers.

Many foreigners from all kinds of professions see teaching English in China as a way to earn a living, but not all are qualified, he said.

EF Education First insists a foreign teacher must hold a bachelor's degree, TESOL certificate and have at least two years of teaching experience.

Compared with private training centers, public schools, especially universities, have kept the threshold for hiring foreign teachers higher, but they need more high-level experts in teaching.

"We need more foreign experts to meet the demand of teaching and scientific research," said Bao Huaying, who works at the international exchanges bureau at Beijing Foreign Studies University, adding that the majority of the foreign faculty members have master's and doctorate degrees from English speaking countries, especially the United States.

Wu Yaowu, director from the international exchanges bureau of Xi'an International Studies University, said the bureau wants to build a team with 100 regular foreign teachers and 20 to 30 teachers on short contracts, but "it's not easy to hire so many good teachers."

"The salary is way too low here, as Xi'an is not as attractive as Beijing or Shanghai," Wu said. The average monthly salary for a foreign teacher in Xi'an is about 5,000 yuan ($814), half of that in Beijing.

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