Most Chinese parents seem to automatically approve of foreign teachers, especially when they are providing their little ones with a highly-regarded head start in English learning. Nevertheless, this blind faith seems to be heading the industry in the wrong direction with unqualified teachers being exposed in learning institutions around China.
Last Monday, Xia, the Administration Manger from a private kindergarten in Beijing was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment along with a fine of RMB10,000. This was handed down at the People's Court in Tongzhou District of Beijing after he was found guilty of purchasing fake diplomas from Wang, a foreign teachers’ agent, who received the same judicial decision as Xia’s, according to the report of The Paper.
Image via Sohu
Back in 2017, Xia recruited two foreign ‘teachers’ to his kindergarten (one from Serbia, and the other from Ukraine), who possessed neither academic credentials nor valid visas.
According to the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA), foreigners must have a bachelor degree or above and a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience to obtain a work permit. Therefore, both expats were not qualified to work at kindergartens or apply for working visas.
To validate their stay in the kindergarten, Xia bought fabricated diplomas from Wang for RMB16,600. However, the fake diploma was recognized on the spot when Brian, one of the foreigners, was applying for a working permit at Beijing Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs. When asked where these fake diplomas came from, Wang replied, “I made them on Photoshop.” The two expats have since been repatriated.
Image via Sina
To make things worse, what Xia did seems to be a universal practice throughout China. Wang Yishi, an official from SAFEA, told People.cn that there were around 400,000 foreign teachers working in countrywide training centers last year, and only one-third of them hold the appropriate certificates.
Last summer, Shanghai cracked down on over 500 disqualified learning institutions, which were requested to stop recruiting students and withdraw inauthentic advertisement. However, many of them are still currently in operation. One of the operators even referred the education industry as “the most stable industry to throw your money in.”
This rogue behavior in the education industry may be a result of parents’ fanaticism with the English language and a growing number of children commencing their English learning before the age of 5. “I signed up to English classes for my daughter when she was only five,” Lin told Sohu. “I thought I was already foresighted. However, when I got there, a staff member asked what took me so long. According to her, other 5-year-old kids had been learning for over two years.”
While this trend in English learning will no doubt continue to rise, make sure you pay close attention before signing up for any classes. After all, improper training from unqualified teachers can create a negative experience for children when they eventually commence formal, higher education training.
[Title Image via Sohu]