*BUSTED* My little school is in peril!

On Monday this week our little school was paid a visit by the NTC ministry of education. It was just one lady and she was pretty nice about the whole situation. She came in and took some pictures. Afterward she took our information and told us that she would need to make sure we had the appropriate license to run a school. Unfortunately, I’m in some big trouble now.

I started this school a couple years ago without a clear vision of the future. I knew that I wanted to teach preschool-aged kids in an immersive way to achieve the best language learning results. My only question was how to teach the kids legally:

It is my understanding that Buxibans are fully capable of legally teaching children aged 3-6 English as long as there is no explicit English lessons. That is to say, you can learn the language by using the language but you shouldn’t try to learn your ABC’s and you shouldn’t attempt to teach reading. Playing games and singing songs are acceptable forms of instruction.

The problem with opening a Buxiban is that there are strict rules for eating and sleeping. If I wanted to immerse the children in language I would need them to stay in our school all day. Additionally, if I offered full day care, I could make more money and give the parents a more attractive educational option. That lead to my decision to open the school to full-day classes with the parents packing a lunch and a one hour nap time.

International Preschools like HESS offer full-day care while teaching English. However, I’m sure everyone knows that these schools are operated in shady ways that exploit the lax enforcement of education regulations. To legally hold all-day class I would essentially need to open a licensed preschool and fill it with English teachers who lacked the appropriate credentials to teach in the school.

Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.

These two unattractive options did nothing to dissuade me from opening my own school. I simply didn’t tell anyone. Slowly (or not so slowly) my school grew. My school now has over 20 students that come in every day.

At this point I’m making twice the money I would as an English teacher. However, for the past two years I have been reinvesting most of my money back into the school. If I close the doors on this place all of my hard work goes up in smoke and my students are sent out to the curb. These are the risks one takes I suppose.

Currently, I am frantically searching for a place to move my school. I don’t know where to go from here but I’m not going to give up until they shut me down :crazy_face:


How will the situation improve if you move your school?

It took them two years to find me the first time! I just need to stay one step ahead of the law!

Seriously though, the building I currently occupy doesn’t meet the safety requirements to become a licensed Buxiban. If I can find a suitable building I can then get a buxiban license and continue classes. I might have to stop offering all day class or I could test my luck once again.

You could look for a closed registered buxiban, where maybe you can get a buxiban license.


Maybe it is better to avoid unregistered places.

No, no they aren’t. They get sent to Hess like everyone else. I really wouldn’t try and keep this going. You’ll end up deported and with no hope of ever getting a work permit again.


iirc, OP has a Taiwanese spouse.

1 Like

Even so, once you become a nuisance to the government, they can find lots of ways to make your life more difficult.

1 Like

Running a small kindergarten just isn’t worth the hassle as a foreigner. Hiding the kids during lunch and nap time and pretending not to teach them anything when you really treat them like junior high students because of the ridiculous laws is too demanding. Just run your school with older kids.

What are private tutoring laws? Perhaps there is a limit on the number of students you can tutor before becoming a school. Anyone?

1 Like

How can you even consider yourself a real buxiban without bringing up the option of a bribe? Come on… get with the program!

On another note, this sums up my entire existence in Taiwan .

Interesting point…would you escape deportation through that?

I don’t know, but t least OP doesn’t need a work permit.

Arc is canceled if you have been sentenced to punishments of imprisonment for one (1) year or greater by a judicial authority, so people on marriage based ARC may not be deported easily, unless be divorced.

People on work based ARC may be deported if their work permits are canceled.

All true. The tricky part when you are trying to run an unlicensed school, or create a tutoring version of that, is filing taxes. The government doesn’t actively look into issue with where your taxed income is coming from, but once you get on their radar, say, through a raid of your school, they will most definitely start connecting the dots on your taxed income. It won’t necessarily lead to deportation of someone here on a marriage visa, but it could lead to some stiff fines.

Have you apprised your landlord of the situation?

Taiwanese rules are not 100% strict and sometimes the right people speaking to the right person solves a lot of issue… some palms may need to be greased.

Talk to your landlord, ask them for advise. They’ll know who to speak with in order to get the proper licenses even if your place doesn’t fulfill certain “requirements”. Taiwanese tends to wait for government agents to show up before doing anything however, so now that they did, go ask your landlord what to do. He may need to increase your rent if he ends up having to pay higher tax, but it’s better than losing the place.

“Safety requirements” can be cooked if you know what I mean. 99% of all buildings in Taiwan lack safety requirements. What are they? Does it mean you have to install fire suppression system? If so, do it. It’s not that expensive and retrofit kits exist to add fire suppression system to your location (it’s basically a dry chemical fire extinguisher that mounts to the ceiling and discharges when it senses a fire, like a sprinkler).

You can even get a business license and basically call it “no receipt required”, most the time they don’t care unless you’re trying to be a LLC (so you can give ARCs)


Thats why I love Forumosa. So many takes on my situation and some really great advice. I do have a Taiwanese spouse so I will not be deported. When we moved to this location I talked to an architect and he looked at the building blueprints. Apparently, they put on a massive extension onto the back of my building to increase the floor space. He told me that he could fix a lot of things but not something so drastic. Our current location is most certainly un-Buxiban-able.

The bribes are an excellent option.
The Websites you provided Tando are a huge help.

My Journey continues…

If this or your other comments apply anywhere, they don’t with a buxiban. There are definite requirements that have to be met. If your building or apartment isn’t suitable, then it isn’t and may well be unredeemable. It always behooves one to make sure of this stuff before renting or modifying a location.

There are no bribes etc. in this situation. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and it’ll get done. Some localities may be different, I know Taipei and I would assume NTC is similar.

This is true, but as with most things, there is a massive gray area. When I was still working as a teacher at a buxiban, there were always ways around regulations that the facility didn’t meet. True story, the kitchen at a school I worked at was only zoned to be a garage. They would bribe the government to get a heads up before inspections, and the week before, they would take out all of the kitchen equipment and put a car in its place. Similar things happened with rooms that weren’t permitted to be classrooms. This was in Taipei. So yes, you do always need to meet regulations, but with bribes and some creativity, there are ways around things.

A post was split to a new topic: From school

How do you know this happened? Sometimes inspections are scheduled, sometimes random.

I won’t necessarily talk about every aspect of buxiban regulation, though I’m skeptical of your story. But as far as setting the school up and getting the licensing, they do everything according to the law in my experience. That is the question at hand here

I know this happened because I’m close friend with the owner. Why would I make this up?

People make up all kind of stories, you’d be surprised.

1 Like