Foreign teachers facing heightened scrutiny after recent sex offender cases

SAFEA issues "urgent notice" on hiring teachersThe State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) has issued an “urgent notice” regarding the hiring practices of foreign teachers in China after two stories about sex offenders teaching in China broke last week.

“Such cases are not common. The overwhelming majority of foreign teachers in China are outstanding,” Xia Bing, director of the Department of Cultural and Educational Experts under the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, according to the China Daily.

Xia explained that more than 180,000 cultural and educational foreign professionals worked in China in 2011, “But at the same time we should be on guard and use the recent negative case to scare off those who want to come to our country with bad motives,” he said.

Indicating that criminal record proof should be offered from police departments in the foreigners’ home countries, Xia said there is no way that this information can be guaranteed and that ultimately responsibility rests largely with foreigners wanting to work in China volunteering the information upon entering China.

[SCMP] Education experts said the scandals highlighted major loopholes in the management of foreign teachers after a surge in demand in recent years, with mainlanders developing “blind trust” in Westerners in the hope of building their oral English skills.

Xiong Bingqi , deputy director of the Beijing-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, said although a set of regulations on hiring procedures for foreign teachers was in place, “they are never observed properly”.

He said mainland regulations stipulated that only schools with special qualifications could hire foreign teachers, who had to go through rigorous background checks before getting registered as “a foreign expert” and granted a work permit

“But supervision loopholes are prevalent at almost each link,” Xiong said.

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