Officials urged tough regulation of foreign teachers at Chinese schools after three Chinese agents were each sentenced to 1-2 years’ imprisonment for helping recruit foreign kindergarten teachers without teaching qualifications or work visas.
Beijing Number 3 Intermediate People’s Court Tuesday sentenced and fined the agents up to 10,000 yuan ($1,490) each for introducing the foreigners to Beijing kindergartens in the full knowledge they had no work visa or teaching qualifications.
The agents organized foreigners with travel or study visas to work at the kindergartens and lied to some foreigners that they could still work there without work visas. They also told the kindergartens to hide foreigners without qualifications to shield them from police examination.
The three were charged with “organizing people to secretly cross the national boundary” as they fabricated an entry reason for the foreigners and severely disturbed the government’s border management.
The case attracted wide social media attention, especially among parents enthusiastic to have their children learn English.
Some schools and kindergartens even hired foreigners from non-English speaking countries.
Foreigners engaged in language teaching in China must obtain a work visa and have a bachelor’s degree or higher, at least two years of teaching-related experience and no criminal record.
An Australian graduate who teaches English in a Beijing-based kindergarten said that he was hired with a tourist visa but obtained the work visa after about one month’s work at the kindergarten, a common process at kindergartens.
“These days the recruiting requirement for foreign teachers is becoming stricter and regulated,” an employee of a Beijing-based intermediary agent helping kindergartens recruit foreign teachers said.
To work as an English tutor, the applicants must come from nations with English as their mother tongue, the employee said.
Following the recruitment process including submitting a resume, online and offline interview and giving a trial lecture, the applicant has to provide a non-criminal certificate and academic certificate in an education-related major, the recruiter said.
If the applicant does not have professional education certificate, they need to show a teaching English as a second language certificate, the employee said.
China’s Ministry of Education and five other central government departments launched a nationwide campaign on Monday at online education platforms.
Foreign staff names, pictures, teaching qualifications, educational background, work and teaching experience must be displayed on the agency’s online platform.