Scandal sparks overhaul of foreign tutors
An education authority in South China launched an inspection against foreign teachers after a foreign teacher in Guangdong Province allegedly posted a photo of a school card and condoms with the caption "Teachin in China."
The Guangdong Department of Education on Monday asked all schools in the province to overhaul foreign teachers they employ and report the result by September 15.
The campaign is aimed at enhancing management of foreign teachers in the province. It focuses on situations like working without a visa and lacking teaching certificates, teaching capabilities and ethics, the department's website said.
The incident sparked heated discussions on foreign teachers after screenshots showed a man named "Sam Nome" allegedly posting on his WeChat account his teacher's card and about half a dozen condoms with a caption reading "Teachin in China."
Many netizens suspect the person may have sexually assaulted or hoaxed Chinese students, urging the school to give an explanation.
Online photos show that the man may be working at the Guangzhou No.21 Middle School.
The school denied having a foreign teacher with that name.
"The person involved is not a current or former foreign teacher at our school…the post slanders us and our foreign teaching staff," the school's international department said on its WeChat account.
The school said that it had changed its name to Guangdong Experimental Yuexiu School in 2018 and stopped using that card two years ago.
The incident once again raises the question of the qualifications and quality of foreigners teaching in China, which has been a sensitive topic amid a series of scandals, including the detention of a foreign tutor who sexually assaulted a kindergarten student in January in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province.
More than 400,000 foreign teachers worked in education industry in China in 2017 and only one-third of them are legal, according to Banyuetan, a magazine under the Xinhua News Agency.
The average quality of foreign teachers is declining amid the rise of international departments in domestic schools, Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Xiong said the problem is worse at private schools and teaching centers than in public schools.
Chinese regulations require foreigners who engage in language teaching to obtain a work visa and have a bachelor's degree or higher, at least two years of teaching-related experience and no criminal record.
Chris, who used to teach English at a university in Beijing, told the Global Times that those who cannot meet the standard turn to private schools and training centers, where regulations are not as strict.
Xiong called for heavier penalties on schools and institutes which recruit foreigners illegally.
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