Beijing plans to set standards for Chinese language tutors who teach foreign students in public schools by introducing a new qualification certificate, education authorities told the Global Times Monday.
The Beijing International Center for Chinese Language, affiliated to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, said that 400 teachers have qualified under the new system, and are working at the 95 schools eligible to teach foreign students in the capital, such as Luhe High School and Fangcaodi Primary School.
The center sets the assessment standards and grants the certificates, but the scheme does not cover international schools in Beijing.
"Currently, many Chinese language teachers were former Chinese or English teachers before they transferred to the international departments in those schools," said Gu Tiangang, director of the center.
"However, we want to establish a stricter entry system for Chinese language teachers, to give them a more professional identity," he said.
During the Southeast Asian International Education Seminar, held in Beijing on September 18, Gu revealed that the center intends to promote this certificate to other countries, to allow foreigners to apply for the certificate in future.
The only official qualification for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL) was granted by the Confucius Institute, which is a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education to provide Chinese language and cultural teaching resources worldwide.
While the institute stopped the tests for this certificate in 2005, some universities do grant similar certificates after the student has graduated in the discipline, Gu said.
Beijing Municipal Education Commission told the Global Times that they have never set special requirements for those who teach foreign students in Chinese public schools.
"Foreign students in those schools are taught the same lessons as Chinese students, except they don't need to study the ideological and ethical courses, so we don't make a different policy for teachers for foreigners. But every school may have different requirements for teacher recruitment," said Zhao Guowei, media officer from the municipal education commission Monday.
Luhe High School, Tongzhou district, founded in 1867, is a key school in Beijing with around 4,000 students, including over 50 international boarding students.
"We have eight Chinese language teachers for those students. A TCFL certificate is not compulsory, but a related education background is important. At the very least teachers should have graduated with a major in TCFL," said Jiang Zhihong, a teacher from the international department of Luhe High School.
Ten teachers from his department applied for the new certificate granted by the center in May, including some administrative staff, said Jiang.
Chen Ya'nan contributed to this story
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