Question regarding Taiwanese public school English teacher tutoring scam

I have reciently found out that several of my evening class students will be leaving my class as they are graduating from elementary school to go on to junior highschool. All of the parents have said that they need to change to a different cram school that has a cirriculum more applicaple to what they are studying in junior high. I spoke to my wife, who is Taiwanese, and a licensed public school teacher, and she told me that many junior and senior high school Taiwanese English teachers have their own evening classes which correspond to what they teach during the regular daytime classes. Students who take their classes are cut quite a bit of slack and those who don’t (take the Taiwanese English teacher’s class) have a very difficult time passing their English class in school. My wife phoned one of my students today and they basically said the same thing that my wife did. The parents would like to have their son in my class after this summer but they know the pressure he will face from his Taiwanese English teacher if he doesn’t take his special “tutoring” class come this fall. I think this is a scam and my wife agrees pointing out that it is endorsed by the government. Endorsed becaused the government and more specifically the dept. of education knows about this situation yet chooses to do nothing about it. Has anyone else heard of such a thing?

Yes I have heard of this. I lambasted the practice both on my ICRT segment and in an article entitled “Corrupt Confucious”. I am told the practice is widespead. I first heard about it when I worked for Amnesty International.

Of course the “dear enlightened locals” (note to all, Juba, see I said nothing harsh about the delicate and sensitive local creatures), either:

  1. think its ok, no conflict of interest
  2. don’t really give a f**k
  3. think it is a good “object lesson” in Taiwanese life for their kiddies. The object lesson being:
    corruption=smart=lots of $$$
    not corrupt=stupid=little $

or all of the above.

take care and take bribes,
Dr. Brian Kung Tzu

I had FIRSTHAND experiences with public school education in Taiwan and can confirm that many (English, math, natural sciences) teachers hold their own sessions after school. (Heck, I was in quite a few myself.) It is entirely plausible that SOME teachers involve themselves in some kind of illicit practice to pressure students into their private class. However I doubt that this can be PROVEN with any kind of specificity, like who did it and how. Short of closing down all private tutoring classes (which per se are not illegal, BTW), what do people think can expose the scamming teachers without causing harassment for non-scamming ones? Before this can be addressed, IMO to call the dept. of education a willing accomplice of the scam is not exactly an example of logical thinking.

It’s what we would call a “conflict of interest” in the West. Considering how important it is to get into a good Senior high school and University, most parents with the money would consider it well worth it.

Unfortunately it is unfair. Why should a student get better grades, easy treatment or an edge, because he takes the teacher’s night class? Unfortunately in Asia, transparency and nonconflicting interests have noe real meaning.

The Ministry of Education has every reason to turn a blind eye or support it. It’s bueracrats are probably ex-teachers, who did the exact same thing and now have tested up to a better position. Think about it, with the extra money made from teaching night classes the teachers can put more of their pay into the high interest civil servants retirement savings plan. They can also pay bribes to change schools and to get help in advancing their career. Hence the recent Kaoshiung civil servant test cheating fraud recently uncovered.

The one bright spot is parents are getting smarter and starting to act. I would be very upset as a poor parent unable to afford special classes and have my kid consigned to being a hei shou because of it. So when I read the following article, it gives me some hope that I will be worked out of a job someday and have to go on to bigger and better things. … /15/198085


Fortunately I do not think the case is as self-evident as it might seem in the above quote. Throughout my school years I have known (many) fellow students who attended “the teacher’s night class” and still flunked the subject at the end of the semester. Perhaps they should have “paid” more for their bushiban lessons? The implied equation of teachers giving night lessons and scammers without further qualification is a false one.


From your post I can only assume your Taiwanese and therefore your response was predictable.

  1. My wife is a public school teacher who personally knows of many teachers in the Kaohsiung and Taipei area schools who run this “cram school” scam.

  2. I have students and parents who tell the same story of such scams.

  3. I really don’t care about the situation (you and the rest of the 22.5 million here do not). This is not my country (its China’s country). I am only a visitor (thank Buddah!). I cannot vote (as if it mattered). My post is directed to the foreigners who visit this website. If you post another message the requires me to reply, I expect to get paid at least $1000 NT for I do not give out free English lessons.

I think you need to look up the term conflict of interest f_hou.

For me the basic questions come down to: What is so wrong with the schools that students have attend a teacher’s night class? Why should less affluent children be at a disadvantage versus their more affluent night class attending peers? Why is more stuff taught at a different school and not covered in class?

If I was a parent in Taiwan, I would be pissed off by this arrangement. Don’t Taiwanese parents already pay taxes for schools now they have to pay more money to attend the teacher’s night class. In the US, we would call that “double dipping.”

Problems arise when at night school the teacher teaches for tests, covers material not presented in public school but tests that same material at public school, employs favoritism for night class attending students, and/or is spending time moonlighting from her public school which would affect her work performance all around.

Calling a spade a spade doesn not imply anything, nor does it make you right or wrong. I called it a conflict of interest and I believe very much that is what it is.


So is that how much you charge your Taiwanese wife, Taiwantim? This is an open forum. Any netizen who can type in English has the right to voice their opinion. Why did you start the thread if you don’t care about the situation to begin with?


I think I understand what you mean by “a conflict of interest” after reading the above posts, and agree that it is a valid concern should a public school reform be underway. However, in view of the current laws, which do not prohibit off-campus tutoring even by public school teachers, I maintain there is a need to draw distinction between this and illegal scams. Yes, there is a conflict of interest, and public school teachers are taking advantage of it with off-campus moonlighting. But no, this is not scam, or not yet until it actually interferes with a teacher’s duties on campus, which requires fair treatment of all students.

Of course if a change takes place in the laws to the effect of redefining rights for public school teachers. I will revise my stance accordingly.

f_hou, I think you just proved my point. I never called this a scam. I will say that it is patently unfair for some students to get extra teaching and time with their teacher while other students do not.

f_hou wrote:
"Yes, there is a conflict of interest, and public school teachers are taking advantage of it with off-campus moonlighting. But no, this is not scam, or not yet until it actually interferes with a teacher’s duties on campus, which requires fair treatment of all students. "

The teachers are working more hours and not spending their time unwinding from work. Their work ability and efficiency will be hampered. Parents have a very real sense that paying this money for after school teaching will help their children. How is that any different from extortion? I have some serious difficulties with the Taiwanese education system. I’ll probably be a long term resident. I don’t like the decisions I will be forced to make when I have children. I don’t like seeing their education held hostage by their teachers.


Actually Tim “f_hou” comes across as a far more intelligent and eloquent user of the English language than yourself, local or not. No wonder your students are finding reasons to leave your classes.

thank buddah for that…

Public school teachers have to pay between 100,000nt to 300,000 nt for their appointment as teachers in public schools. It seems quite obvious why teachers would pay so much for these positions. Education is a business in Taiwan. Public schools are no exception.