The Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) has indicated that it will soon start a recruiting drive for qualified English instructors. Admittedly, there is a shortage of qualified and experienced English teachers in Taiwan (and in other countries within the region) and this move would make perfect sense.
However, the MOE has stated that it will only pay Filipino instructors $25,000 NT, almost half of what teachers from Canada, Australia, U.S. and U.K. make under the same program.
My position on this is that qualified Filipino English instructors should receive the same pay and benefits as their colleagues from Canada, Australia, U.S. and the U.K. if they are to be contracted for the same amount of hours and duties as the native speaking instructors.
Furthermore, I agree that there should be more opportunities for qualified Filipino and Indian instructors who have native-like proficiency in English.
Indeed, it seems wrong to allow access to English teaching positions in Taiwan purely on the basis of where individual applicants were born or the kind of passport they hold.
For instance, there are French Canadians in Taiwan teaching English, some at the university level, in fact, who are not native English speakers. However, they hold Canadian passports, thus, making them eligible to teach English in Taiwan.
The problem for the Taiwan authorities is how to tell who does and does not have a native-like proficiency in English. Given their inability to make such an assessment, they have hitherto taken people’s legal nationality as a rough guide as to whether they are native speakers or not. How are the authorities going to overcome this problem?
I dare say they will find a way, and we will indeed see an influx of teachers from the many less-developed countries where English is widely spoken, such as the Philippines, India, Zimbabwe, Jamaica etc… The proposal for apartheid-type salary differentials will surely fall by the wayside because it is grossly unjust. What will happen instead is that, with a greather supply of teaching labour, the average wages for teaching English will fall. In that case a lot of English teachers from developed countries will find that their savings are too pitiful in relation to the cost of living in their home countries, and they will leave Taiwan.
But this is good news (especially if they end up being paid the same as those from other countries) for those qualified teachers I know from the Philippines who are here working as housekeepers or in factories.
The problem for the Taiwan authorities is how to tell who does and does not have a native-like proficiency in English. Given their inability to make such an assessment, they have hitherto taken people’s legal nationality as a rough guide as to whether they are native speakers or not. How are the authorities going to overcome this problem?[/quote]
If they were really interested in actually having a criterion referenced standard to follow rather than just going by passport, they could require that anyone from a non-native English speaking country have a band 9 score on all parts of the IELTS. They won’t do that, though. If they ever did get around to letting Filipinos teach English, they’d probably come up with some crap local exam that would prevent most qualified Filipinos from teaching in Taiwan.
As an aside, I met a Filipino here on a JFRV who’s married to a ROC national. She can work as an English teacher teaching children without restrictions. This is really for some of the folks following the legal forum on whether the MOE allows foreigners to teach young’uns English.
Actually, the original article referred to an offer from the Filipino government to supply teachers at a lower salary.
FILIPINOS COULD TEACH ENGLISH IN TAIWAN: PHILIPPINE LABOR MINISTRY
Manila, Oct. 13 (CNA) [b]The Philippine Ministry of Labor and Employment has suggested that Filipinos able to teach English should be allowed to do so in Taiwan because of the shortage in Taiwan. [/b]
Citing sources from the labor affairs center at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, a ranking ministry official said Thursday that Taiwan's Ministry of Education will soon launch a campaign to recruit qualified English teachers.
Although Taiwan has hired many English teachers on a contract basis from countries like Australia, Britain and Canada, the official said that Taiwan still desperately needs English teachers.
Starting salaries for English teachers from the Philippines would be around NT$25,000 (US$750) per month, about half that of monthly salaries offered to other English-speaking natives, he said.
According to the official, Taiwan was the world's fifth-largest overseas job market for Filipino workers for the first seven months of this year. A total of 27,151 Filipinos headed for Taiwan to work during the January-July period.
Quoting statistics offered by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration under the labor ministry, he said that at least 170,000 Filipinos currently live in Taiwan -- some 154,000 of whom are workers on contract, while 1,500 are legal immigrants.
Actually the article does not make clear whether the “ranking ministry official” is Filipino or Taiwanese, and it doesn’t specifiy from which side the salary figure originated.[/quote]
Good eye, Juba. You must be a seasoned reader of Taiwan’s English newspapers.
It has always been the position of the Taiwanese government on this issue that they would only hire Anglo-American citizens for these jobs. The article names no one other than Filipino government officials, so you’re reading something into this seems a little far fetched to me. Do you have information about this that I don’t have?
This an excerpt from a comment I posted to the original posting on Fred Shannon’s blog.
…any holder of an advanced degree from a university in an Anglo-American nation or the holder of a degree in TESOL or Education from an MOE accredited university is eligible for a visa to teach English in the ROC. There are a surprisingly large number of non-British Europeans, Koreans, and even Filipinos currently teaching in the ROC. The real question is not whether or not they can teach in the ROC - because they already are - the real question is why the MOE seems bound and determined not to let this happen in public schools. The only reason I can think of is allowing native speaker teachers into schools is not to provide more competitive education, but to appear more competitive with the education already being provided by fee paying cram schools.
Very soon you’ll land in Taiwan and are wondering where you are … in India, the Philippines … all these strange English accents spoken by Taiwanese :s
If the governement goes this far, than they can invite teachers from non-native English countries to teach English … some of them have a better accent than the teachers from the Philippines or India …
BTW … if you reason that 25,000 NT is not a good deal and they should be paid equal, tell the contract workers and maids … they can be paid better …
Why not pay everyone the same … all over the world … does a factory worker in the States or Europe make the same money as a worker in China … don’t think so …
Just level all salaries all over the world, no more cheap labor, no more falls competition, but hey cost of living goes up too then …
Personally, I don’t think they get a bad deal … if at all they come … probably better paid than at home … I guess they make about 8,000 - 10,000 NT$/month in the Philippines …
Most American English teachers say the same thing about Australian or New Zealand English teachers. The facts are somewhat different. Mandarin-speaking students are much more likely to develop a ‘Chinese accent’ to their English regardless of who teaches them.
A relative of mine who lived in HK had the same Filipina maid for over ten years. She met her husband whilst doing her Masters of Engineering degree in Manila. Her husband stayed behind to raise the kids, working as a civil engineer. His wife made more money working in HK. This was a long time ago, but I can see how the work would be attractive to qualified Filipino teachers if they stood to make much better money at home, and without having to wipe babies’ arses.
Of course it’s all in the implementation. I’ve met plenty of Filipinos, Malaysians, and of course Indians with perfect English. Of the Malaysians and Indians I have met many were native speakers, meaning their parents spoke English to each other and to the kids, and the kids were educated in English. No reason at all they couldn’t teach English. English is being taught very well all over Asia - why not in Taiwan? That’s the question for the MOE, should they ever want to find the answer. (Which is “money”, BTW.)
As HGC points out, what with the number of English-speaking maids here, there is already a great opportunity for exposure to English. Of course this being Taiwan, the assumption is often that only people of white European extraction can speak English. This is the MOE’s opportunity to scotch that myth and fill Taiwan’s schools with competent teachers of English.
On the salary side, I would say that prices in the private market for English teaching are based on all sorts of nonsense, for example, claims like “Your child will learn a squillion words in eleventy weeks.” Paying extra for a US (for example) passport when the US is full of non-native speakers of English is no more silly than that. If the MOE pays enough to attract qualified teachers from SEA then that should be enough to make the idea work. If people still want to pay a 22-year old white European to teach their kids then it’s their money. But the government is spending taxpayers’ money and should be under an obligation to find the best teachers at a reasonable cost. And to do this all it has to ask itself is why do Indians, Malaysians, Filipinos, and Singaporeans speak good English?