China sets eyes on Filipino English teachers

BEIJING — If things work according to plan, more professional English Filipino teachers are expected to flood China in the very near future.

“China is now planning to open opportunities for Filipinos, legitimate employment, as English teachers,” Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said in an interview with Filipino journalists in Beijing last Tuesday night.

At present, Sta. Romana said there are already Filipinos teaching English language in China but most of them teach only at the nursery, primary and elementary level.

Sta. Romana said China is planning to expand the definition of native English-speaking countries when it comes to hiring of foreign English teachers.

“Before the concentration was only on the native English speaking countries. What gave us opening is they said native speaking countries and countries colonized by these native English speaking countries. So that applies to us. The Philippines was colonized by the Americans so English was taught and spoken widely,” he explained.

He said the Chinese education officials are now coordinating with their counterparts in the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with regards to the qualification of the English Filipino teachers who can work in China.

“They are laying the ground work. As long as you have qualification, meaning college degrees particularly in teaching English, not only in elementary and high school but also in university. You have to have competitive degree,” the envoy said.

Sta. Romana said China has expressed willingness to hire Filipino teachers but DepEd as well as CHED must cooperate with their Chinese counterparts to expedite the plan.

“Talks are underway and Chinese are conducting studies on how to handle with this. They are asking their counterpart agencies from the Philippines,” he said.

The ambassador has attributed China’s interest to the Filipino teachers to the renewed China-Philippines relations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

“That is part of it. In a sense, what they are trying to do is how, to the basic approach, to help out the Philippines development like in infrastructures, investment, trade and also labor opportunities,” he said.

Sta. Romana said is hoping that China’s plan to expand hiring of foreign English teachers from the Philippines will be implemented within President Duterte’s term that will end in 2022.

The Philippine embassy could not give the exact number of Filipino teachers working in China but out of 344,727 Filipinos in China, 13,991 are in mainland while 208,266 are in Hongkong, 93,896 in Taiwan and 28,574 in Macao.

In China, a Filipino teacher is receiving a basic monthly salary of RMB5,000 to 8,000 (PHP35,000 to 56,000) for those working in training schools.

“In public and private schools, they give higher salaries. Like the Canadian Program which pays teacher RMB20,000 to 30,000 (Php140,000 to 210,000) depending on your experience and load,” a Filipina teacher, who requested anonymity, told the Philippines News Agency.