City schools hesitate to use Filipino English teachers

Higher pay and quality concerns have prevented Ho Chi Minh City schools from accepting Filipino English teachers under a pilot program by the municipal education department.

City schools have registered to receive only 29 Filipino English teachers from the municipal education board, which plans to recruit 100 such teachers for the K-12 education system in this academic year.

The teacher recruitment is part of a pilot program to help improve school students’ command of English, according to the city Department of Education and Training.

Each student will chip in VND120,000 (US$5.8) a month to cover the $2,000 monthly salary for the teachers, it said.

An elementary school principal in District 3, an area whose schools have not registered for any Filipino teachers so far, said that it is hard for them to ask their students to pay an extra VND50,000 a month to hire Filipinos because they have had to contribute a monthly sum of VND70,000 to study with British teachers for many years.

A District 6 education board leader said that no schools there have signed up for Filipino teachers for the same reason.

“Our students are paying VND50,000-70,000 a month to be taught by native speakers from Canada and the U.S.,” the official said, “so district schools feel hesitant employing Filipinos at a higher tuition fee even when they use English simply as a second language.”

Uncertainty

Nguyen Thanh Hai, chief of the Tan Binh District education board, said that his schools are willing to take Filipino English teachers as long as they are paid by money from the state budget.

“Otherwise, we need time to think about it before asking for payment from the parents,” Hai said.

The official revealed that Tan Binh District schools will be watching how Filipinos teach English at other schools and then act accordingly.

Two schools in District 1 will use two Filipino English teachers in the near future, according to Dinh Thien Can, the district education board chief.

“We will see how they perform at these schools and then plan for the next school year,” Can said.

Willing to fire teachers immediately

Le Hong Son, the education department director, said the Filipino English teachers who have been chosen thus far are expected to start next month.

“We will fire them right away if they fail to meet our requirements or show any bad manners during their work at the schools,” Son affirmed.

They will teach English to students, engage in discussions on expertise with local English teachers, and take part in extra-curricular activities during the contracted time, he said.

Son recently told local media that his department opted for Filipino English teachers because they demanded a lower salary, while their Australian peers asked for $5,000, and British for $10,000.

In the meantime, many expat English teachers have told Tuoi Tre that teaching English can generate US$800-2,500 a month, depending on the number of working hours.

They revealed that a $2,500 monthly income would require long hours of hard work from them.

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