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Teaching English still top job for foreign experts
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-07 05:32

English teaching is still the most popular job for foreigners in China, according to the third Job Fair for Foreigners in Beijing on Saturday.

About 80 per cent of some 400 foreigners who attended the fair were looking for jobs such as teachers or language polishers.

And the majority of some 500 positions offered at the fair fell into exactly that category.

Unlike some who come to China to mess around and see teaching as a way to earn extra money, the majority of foreigners at the fair were very serious about their careers.

Luann Gronhovd from North Dakota, the United States, has just received her master's degree in education in the US. She came to Beijing to teach two months ago. Explaining her choice of destination, she said: "China is a country I already know and have always loved."

With two-year experience teaching English at Sichuan Normal University, Luann appeared a little bit picky. "I'm looking for a school that has a good teaching environment and qualified staff," she said. "I think these are something every responsible teacher should be looking for. Money is important, but not the most important."

Some foreign teachers in China are not well qualified, she said, a fact confirmed by Yang Changju, director of the cultural and educational experts department of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

"Some foreign teachers have very poor qualifications," he said. "And some schools employ foreign English teachers not because they want to improve their English teaching level but just to attract more students."

Yang told China Daily that the bureau will jointly work with the Ministry of Education to set up a qualification system for foreign English teachers in China to better regulate the market.

No specific date or regulation has yet been made.

Bureau figures indicate that about 260,000 foreigners are currently working in China, but these are only those in stable jobs.

They usually work as consultants or managers of big construction projects, technical staff, senior managers in international or joint-venture companies, or language teachers and polishers.

"English teaching positions are still very popular, especially for those without a strong technical background," Yang said, adding that the number of foreign English teachers stood at 60,000, excluding those in part-time jobs.

The growing number of foreign experts did not necessarily add pressure to the existing white-hot domestic job market, Yang said, because "they usually take jobs that we Chinese are unable to do."

(China Daily 11/07/2005 page2)

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