Expats are increasingly unwilling to become teachers in China, causing an imbalance between the supply and demand of foreign teachers, according to a recent report from China Daily.
Niu Chen, the co-founder of an agency that recruits foreign teachers in Zhengzhou, Henan province, said that schools of all levels will need at least 4,000 foreign teachers in the academic year 2015-16.
Niu told China Daily that “the statistics are incomplete, so the actual demand may be even greater”, yet suitable candidates are hard to find.
Most foreigners seeking jobs in China are looking for positions connected to their previous work background and qualifications, rather than teaching work. Most expat teachers in China teach languages, regardless of their past work experience.
Virgilio J. Lizardo Jr., a 32-year-old from the United States, failed to find a suitable job connected to his previous work in the US logistics industry. He said that most companies advertising to expats are education companies and that “it’s difficult to get out of the education industry if you’re a foreigner in China”.
Still, recruitment is becoming increasingly difficult for many schools in China. The situation has recently heightened because some provinces and regions have raised the bar for the recruitment of teachers from overseas.
The Beijing government had released a series of regulations in September aiming to strengthen the management of foreign teachers. According to the regulations, foreigners who want to teach in China should have at least five years experience, and those wishing to teach a language should have relevant teaching certificates.
Many other regions have not issued such explicit requirements, for example Hunan and Fujian require candidates to have at least two years of teaching experience.
The stricter requirements make it even more difficult to find suitable foreign teachers, from a shrinking pool of candidates.
Many schools have begun to take action on the problem. According to the report, schools in China will seek to establish ties with teacher associations in other countries in hope of finding better qualified foreign teachers.
By Freya Twigden