The Ministry of Education recently said it was against local employment agencies recruiting English teachers from the Philippines and India as they are not native English speakers.
However, under the Employment Services Act, the nationalities of English teachers are not profiled by law in Taiwan. Can the MOE halt the import of Filipinos and Indians to teach English in Taiwan?
Lawmaker Kuo Tien-tsai (
"Why can't employment agencies recruit foreign teachers who are less costly, as long as they are legal and can provide a similar quality of teaching service as their Western counterparts?" Kuo said.
"As long as teachers from the Philippines and India are legally permitted by law to be able to work in Taiwan, the MOE has no reason to block them from teaching," the lawmaker said.
Local Chinese-language newspapers reported last Monday that local employment agencies plan to bring in some 20 teachers from the Philippines and India after the Lunar New Year to teach in kindergartens and cram schools because these teachers will work for about half the salary of their Western counterparts.
However, the MOE said it objects to recruiting from countries where English is not the native language and residents have "non native" accents.
Employment agencies said that the teachers they want to recruit all have university degrees and teaching certificates and expect monthly salaries of between US$1,000 and US$1,200.
One of the agencies said that as the Philippines and India are also English-speaking countries, the ministry should have no problem with finding quality staff there.
Their European and American counterparts command monthly salaries of between US$2,000 and US$3,000.
However, director of MOE's Department of Elementary Education Wu Tsai-shung (
"Teachers from the Philippines and India are not native English speakers and their mother tongues are other languages. The MOE so far only considers hiring teachers from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia," Wu said.
Li Chen-ching (
"It's not up to the MOE to decide whether private cram schools can recruit teachers from these two countries, as these teachers are subject to the Supplementary Education Law," Li said.
"But if these teachers want to teach in the formal education system such as in public primary schools and junior high schools, the MOE has the power to set standards for their qualifications as they have to get a formal teacher's certificate issued by the ministry," Li added.
Teachers who wish to teach in public elementary and junior high schools are instead subject to the Employment Service Law.
Li also echoed Wu's view that the ministry prefers teachers from English-speaking Western countries, saying "if we pay the English teachers using taxpayers' money, we certainly would like to recruit the best qualified teachers."
"Teaching English is not just about the language. It is also about language as a culture and language as a society. These factors should also be taken into consideration," Lee said.
Geoff Evans, director for the British Council Taipei -- a major English teacher-training provider -- told the Taipei Times, "[The question] should be on the basis of the quality of the teacher. It must depend on the individuals as to whether their English is appropriate."
Speaking of the different accents of English teachers, such as the British or American accenst, Evans said, "An accent is something that all foreigners have to be able to cope with [in communication]."
"It depends on what the objective of the government's recruitment is and the exposure of what particularly kind of accent they are seeking," Evans said.
However, Evans said that the frenzy of introducing foreign English teachers might only benefit Taiwanese children in the short term.
Over the long term, Taiwanese teachers themselves will play a key role to the substantial development of Taiwan's English learning, he said.
"I definitely believe that Taiwanese teachers will make a difference in the long run, because those teachers coming from English-speaking countries will only be here for a very short time," Evans said.
"Foreign teachers can make a difference with the students they teach now, but what about the next generation of students?
"You [Taiwan] actually have to build up your own resources," he said.
"Any parent would be interested in this issue for the benefit of their own children for the time being, but in the long term, it's a question of what would be good for the education system of Taiwan," Evans said.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with