China Considers Toughening Rules for Foreign English Teachers

China recently issued new draft rules aimed at toughening oversight of foreign teachers in the country, requiring them to undergo ideological training sessions and creating a new social credit rating system to monitor their conduct.Arrests and deportations of foreign teachers in China have soared since 2018 amid a broad crackdown on teachers without proper work visas and Beijing’s push for a more patriotic education system.Analysts told VOA this is partly due to the deterioration of U.S.-China relations and China’s relations with other English-speaking countries. Yet parents say they are still interested in having their children learn English.Draft regulationThe FILE – A Chinese teacher writes English words on a blackboard at a class in Shanghai, April 26, 2002.What about learning English?English teaching has a huge market in China. The China Science News reported that more than 300 million people in China are learning English. English classes, mandated by the Ministry of Education, cost nearly 164 billion RMB (about $24 billion) annually.Yet as China’s relationship with the U.S. and other major English-speaking countries worsens, some worry the situation will mirror what happened in the 1960s, when passion to learn Russian sharply decreased after ties between Beijing and Moscow deteriorated.Commentator Qin Weiping said there’s a possibility that English might be less important if China keeps its aggressive foreign policy and is further isolated by the U.S. and other major economies down the road.Professor Zhan Jiang disagreed, saying that the current situation was temporary.“Some kids can’t go abroad, and some international students can’t come back. There are lot of reasons — COVID-19, Sino-U.S. relations. But I think most Chinese students will still learn English as their second language. That trend won’t change,” he told VOA.Li Ping, parent of a Beijing student, told VOA that he still wanted his child to learn English well, so he has the opportunity to go to the U.S. for further education. He added that he thought China’s current foreign policy and international environment would change one day. “We must invest in education,” he said.

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