Oversight of foreign experts to improve

Updated: 2013-05-13 07:11

By Wu Wencong, He Na and Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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Strong demand

There has long existed a strict process to recruit foreign experts for Chinese institutions and companies.

Despite the management system and efforts by institutions to screen foreign applicants as thoroughly as possible, Xia said it may still be very hard to completely eliminate the "black sheep" due to problems such as the imbalance between market supply and demand, the lack of related laws and mercenary intermediate agencies that do not follow regulations when it comes to recruiting foreigners.

China has seen a growing wave of enthusiasm to learn English in the past 20 years.

According to Xia, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs issues about 30,000 foreign expert certificates in the field of cultural and educational areas nationwide every year, but the annual market demand is for more than 100,000.

"The function of English is being magnified in China," said Wang, the former Education Ministry spokesman.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing, agreed and added that Chinese people have an irrational favor of foreigners as English teachers.

"Foreign teachers are the best advertisement that many English training schools use to attract students," Xiong said.

Lee Clarke, from Canada, works as a foreign teacher in a university in Changchun, capital of Jilin province, and part-time as the director of a private English training school. One of his missions is to recruit foreign teachers for the private school.

"Their only requirement is good-looking young people, especially those who are white-skinned," said the 60-year-old, who has been teaching in China for eight years.

"Some of these young people just come for sightseeing. They are hired just because they can speak English, and they have foreign faces," he added.

Xia said the preference for foreign faces makes it very difficult for many ethnic Asians who are also native speakers to find a job as an English teacher.

Some intermediate agencies have seen a business opportunity, and look to capitalize on the demand by sending foreigners who do not have any teaching qualifications to schools that need foreign teachers.

In response, Xiong Deyi said his department is not authorized to supervise intermediate agencies.

"The administration has no jurisdiction, and we are not vested by law to crack down on intermediate agencies even if we know they are not following regulations," he said.

Han Junhong from Jilin contributed to this story.

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