Labor departments told to crack down on illegal teachers

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 2

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) has instructed local departments of labor to step up inspections of nursery schools and kindergartens for illegally employed foreign teachers providing language instruction.

In a statement yesterday, the council said it had sent instructions last Wednesday to city and county labor departments to crack down on foreigners teaching illiegally in nursery schools in the wake of a Consumer Protection Commission investigation into 172 nursery schools conducted in May and June.

Although the commission did not disclose how many of the nursery schools that were investigated employed foreign teachers the agency called for more monitoring of nursery schools for illegal foreign workers in a recently released statement.

Kindergartens and nursery schools are not among the institutions allowed to employ foreign teachers under the 46th statute of the Employment Services Act (就業服務法), and all foreigners teaching at kindergartens and nursery schools are doing so illegally, the council said in a statement.

"The CLA defers to the Ministry of Education when determining when and where foreign teachers are allowed to work," said a council official who declined to be named.

Cheng Lai-chang (鄭來長), the deputy head of the Department of Elementary Education at the ministry, said the policy not to allow foreign teachers to work in kindergartens and day-care centers is based on advice received from experts.

"Studies show that starting English instruction so early in life does not offer concrete, long-term benefits to the child's eventual English abilities," Cheng said. "We prefer young children to concentrate on their native language until the third grade."

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