MANILA, Philippines – English teachers from the Philippines may soon flood China.
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana told Filipino journalists in Beijing Tuesday night that “China is now planning to open opportunities for Filipinos…as English teachers.”
China is planning to expand its definition of native English-speaking countries in relation to its plan of providing “legitimate employment” to foreign English teachers, according to Sta. Romana.
“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 said.
He said the Chinese education officials are now coordinating with their counterparts in the Philippines’ Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education with regard 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.
“Talks are underway and Chinese are conducting studies on how to handle with this. They are asking their counterpart agencies from the Philippines,” he added.
The ambassador attributed Asian giant’s interest in hiring Filipino teachers to the renewed China-Philippines relations under the Duterte 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.
There are already Filipinos teaching English language in China but most of them teach only at the nursery, primary and elementary level.
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.
A Filipino teacher working in a training school in China receives a basic monthly salary of RMB5,000 to 8,000 (PHP35,000 to 56,000).
According to a Filipino teacher in China interviewed by the Philippine News Agency, public and private schools in the country give higher salaries of RMB20,000 to 30,000 (Php140,000 to 210,000) depending on one’s experience and load.