Author Topic: But unqualified teachers shouldn’t be teaching anyway, right?  (Read 800 times)

Offline thaiga

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Visa crackdown: an article from thaivisa.

Arguably the biggest group affected by the tourist visa crackdown are the teachers. Many of whom have been debating how teachers will be affected by the new visa regulations in our Education forum.

By ‘teachers’ we don’t mean the individual arriving from the the UK or United States armed with their PGCE or Bachelor Degree in Education to take a job at one of Bangkok’s leading international schools.

We’re mainly talking about the ‘TEFLers’ or those who in the eyes of the Thai authorities are unqualified to teach English in Thailand.

For those who aren’t aware, a ‘TEFLer’ refers to someone who has completed a Teaching English as a Foreign Language training program or course. A TEFL ‘qualification’ can also be obtained online. TEFL courses vary greatly in quality and the industry is largely unregulated.

Under the current regulations to teach in Thailand, most teachers are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in any field.

Now despite Thailand’s education authorities claiming to only want ‘qualified’ teachers, the reality is that there are a great number of ‘teachers’ working here without degrees, and consequently without Non-B’s and work permits.

Demands far outweighs supply and in a lot of cases, as long as there is a farang body standing at the front of the class, that’s usually enough for the students and parents, which in turn is enough for the school management and directors. Everyone’s happy.

They don’t really care if the ‘teacher’ has the correct visa type or not. They are just desperate for a native English speaker to give some English lessons to the students.

Take Ajarn Ken as an example, who despite not having a degree, has just arrived from the United States with a spring in his step, full of enthusiasm and eager to make a real difference to the lives of school children in Nakon Nowhere. He hasn't got a Non-B visa or work permit because he hasn't got a degree so he’s most likely working on a tourist visa, which in 60 days will need to be renewed.

Prior to the crackdown, this would have meant a visa run to a neighbouring country but under the rules which officially come into play from August 12th 2014, he will no longer be able to re-enter Thailand on a back to back tourist visa. This means, Ajarn Ken won't be able to work in Thailand and that the school will be without an English teacher.

Examples such as the one with Ajarn Ken will happen all over the country and could cause a very sudden and quite dramatic shortfall in English teachers in Thailand.

The likes of Ajarn Ken are not only limited to the backpacker types or newbie teachers. Some of these guys have been here years, maybe a decade or more. Some may have wives, long term partners and families. Could this crackdown result in the breakup of families all over Thailand?

But unqualified teachers shouldn’t be teaching anyway, right?

Now of course there will be people who will say that ‘unqualified’ individuals shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a classroom but the truth is that many of them provide a genuine service for the people of Thailand.

These unqualified teachers or ‘TEFLers’ as they are also known, are wanted by the schools, by the parents and by the students, and in all honesty are probably much needed for the future of Thailand - a country which is under pressure to improve its competency in English, especially with the introduction of the new ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

In an ideal world, Thailand would without doubt want to employ qualified English teachers, but the reality is that many schools simply can’t afford more than the 30,000 THB standard salary of a teacher.

Why would someone with a Bachelor Degree in Education come and work in Thailand when they can go to Japan or Korea and earn double that amount? Head to the UAE or Qatar and earn five, six or even seven times the amount an English teacher picks up in Thailand.

School administrators should worry too

The visa crackdown will have a wider impact on the education system generally. As well as a possible and sudden shortfall in teachers, schools will also be forced to get their administrative procedures in order also. 

School administrators will have to ensure paperwork for a teacher to obtain a Non-B visa will have to be promptly and effectively processed or the teacher runs the risk of being rejected upon their application at a neighbouring consulate and then unable to return to Thailand on a visa exempt entry or a tourist visa.

Newbie teachers will no longer be able to teach on a 3 or 6 month probation period, whilst on a tourist visa, as is common in many schools throughout Thailand.

Don’t forget the language schools

Then there are the private language schools and agencies that for whatever reason have employed unqualified teachers, without a Non-B visa and work permit for years and years. These organisations are perhaps the biggest employers of unqualified teachers but they will now be forced to only hire individuals who qualify for a Non-B.

Or will they?
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