A 63-year-old American who was convicted twice of child porn offenses was reportedly working at a Nanjing school until between 2007 and earlier this year, reports the Chinese newspaper Modern Express. He apparently left the country two months ago.
In light of this case and the one of Neil Robinson, who was detained in Beijing last week, the State Administration of Foreign Experts issued an “urgent notice,” according to SCMP, “on regulating the teachers’ ‘daily activities.’”
“Regulating daily activities” sounds unnecessarily Orwellian, and we can only guess what that might entail. If you’re working as a certified teacher in China, at a university or anywhere else, please let us know if you find your work conditions affected in the near future.
Education experts said the scandals highlighted major loopholes in the management of foreign teachers after a surge in demand in recent years, with mainlanders developing “blind trust” in Westerners in the hope of building their oral English skills.
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”.
Of course protocals aren’t always observed properly. The loopholes exist in the fortresses of bureaucracy because people understand that the vast majority of foreigners applying to teach are not pedophiles or sociopaths, are in fact simply people who enjoy teaching, or want to, and can make a living doing it.
It’s the few rotten apples that ruin it for everyone else, and if we’ve seemed a bit aggressive recently in making that point, we hope the point at least doesn’t get lost. Ultimately, red tape can lead to good, if correctly used. The current foreign teacher recruitment and hiring process could use reform. Paperwork for the sake of paperwork is counterproductive, but at the very least, authorities can be more conscientious with background checks (start with google), they can familiarize themselves with sex offender registries (again, google), and maybe, for once, pause to exercise some judgment before making that hire for the sake of impressing parents.