Foreign English teachers in China are about to face closer monitoring in the aftermath of two child sex scandals. The South China Morning Post reports that the State Administration of Foreign Experts has posted an “urgent notice” that the “daily activities” of foreign teachers must be monitored more closely, following revelations that foreign teachers with a criminal record or on the run from criminal charges relating to sexual crimes against children, were hired at English teachers.
Last week there was a media frenzy as it surfaced that Neil Robinson, a former teacher at an international school here in Beijing, was wanted in the UK in connection with distribution of indecent images of children and child rape. Two day later, he turned himself in to the local police, who are working with the Surrey Police over the details of his return to the UK.
And in Nanjing, a man from the US who worked there as an English teacher between 2007 and early this year was discovered to be twice convicted of child pornography crimes in the state of Illinois. He worked at a language training school, and later at a university, in Nanjing, but is confirmed to departed mainland China two months ago.
So far, there have been no official measures implemented in the hiring or regulating of foreign English teachers. However, these recent incidents highlight the lapses in hiring practices, in that few, if any, English-teaching schools conduct background checks on their potential hires. According to the South China Morning Post:
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.