Foreign teachers: eligible bachelors only need apply

PHUKET: Schools across the island will ask Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit to petition the Ministry of Education (MoE) to ease new regulations requiring all new teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and to pass an extensive background check before they can begin work.

The decision was made at a meeting at the Phuket Educational Service Area (PESA) office on Tuesday, chaired by Niran as one of his last acts as Vice-Governor before his promotion to Governor.

At the meeting, attended by representatives of 37 private schools and 14 government-run schools on Phuket, it was agreed to ask the Governor to petition the MoE to also allow schools to put teachers to work while the lengthy background checks are being conducted.

Owners of small private schools employing foreign teachers, especially language schools, feel the new requirements, which came into effect September 29, are too restrictive and time-consuming, taking months to complete before a new teacher can be hired.

The new policy requires that all foreign teachers possess at least a bachelor’s degree, a certified copy of which must be presented to the local MoE office along with a certified copy of the applicant’s transcript (academic record).

Before hiring a new teacher, schools must wait for approval from the MoE’s International Education Promotion Division, which must check the authenticity of the teacher’s credentials by seeking a confirmation letter from the university the applicant claims to be graduate of.

The new policy specifies three other requirements:

– The applicant must possess a passport with a non-immigrant visa of any class, except for an “ED” study/education visa. The visa must be valid for at least 15 days before the date of application;

– The name of the teacher must match that on his/her passport and academic degree;

– Teachers from countries where English is not an official language must present evidence of English-language fluency, in the form of standardized test results with the following minimum scores: IELTS 5.5; or TOEFL 550 or TOEIC 600.

Gov Niran said that, apart from security concerns, there are many foreign teachers in Thailand who lack proper teaching credentials.

The crackdown is likely to affect Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket the most, as these are the provinces with the greatest concentrations of foreign teachers, he said.

PESA Director Chien Srirueng confirmed that the bachelor’s degree and background checks apply only to new hires, not existing foreign staff.

There are currently 105 foreign teachers in Phuket, employed by 35 different schools.

Phuket News
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