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Education Ministry to hire 369 foreign English teachers

Elementary and junior high schools can start recruiting foreigners to teach English as soon as August, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Fan Sun-lu, the MOE vice minister, told lawmakers that the plan to recruit some 369 English teachers from United Kingdom, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia in February was affected by the SARS outbreak last year.

She said Taiwan is about to ink the contract with the U.K., but there are problems with other countries due to the strict criteria of hiring.

The group of foreign teachers will be arriving in Taiwan as soon as June, and they are expected to start teaching in August, Fan said.

However, some lawmakers charged that the belated recruitment of foreign English teachers was caused by the MOE’s

request to sign state-to-state contracts, as the MOE believes that it is doing a favor to other countries in terms of employment.

Several lawmakers vowed to continue freeze relevant hiring budget in order to stop politicizing the education matter.

The lawmakers demanded the MOE to come up with more complete supporting measures for the recruitment of foreign English teachers before the legislative education committee can unfreeze the NT$60 million budget.

An estimated 4,000 additional English teachers will be required with the MOE’s plan to start English programs to third and fourth graders, according to the MOE.

The MOE does not plan to recruit any more local English teachers, and instead will offer language training to existing teachers and students from teacher’s colleges.

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