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February 07, 2003

Taiwan Rethinks Teacher Recruitment

Plans by the Taiwanese education ministry to hire 1,000 native English speaking teachers by 2008 have been revised. The plan led to protests by local teachers, who said it was poorly thought out, rushed and badly planned given the island nation's struggling economy. They also feared it would endanger the jobs of many of their colleagues. During a recent forum, the ministry's English Education Advisory Committee unanimously disagreed with the plan and instead decided on a target of 400 to 600 foreign teachers, with the budget balance to be used to hire foreign teacher trainers. Japan's experiences with hiring foreign teachers for primary schools were cited. "Both Japan and South Korea have reduced the number of foreign English teachers. The problem was that the foreign teachers usually had difficulty in coordinating with the domestic teachers, and were often treated as simply 'living recorders' who did nothing but regurgitate native-English pronunciation," said one professor.

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