Before leaving for China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia 2018, Philippine President Duterte said that he would China with a great task. He wants to promote Philippine English education in China and help 100,000 English teachers from the Philippines get teaching jobs in China.
The Philippines is a major exporter of labor. Its government has relatively mature overseas labor dispatching regulation and management practices. When it comes to children's learning and development, however, many parents in China are still skeptical as to whether English teachers from the Philippines can do well.
With these questions in mind, our reporter specifically interviewed Antonio Valdes, former deputy minister of the Ministry of Education of the Philippines.
What level are Filipinos in English?
First of all, English is one of the official languages of the Philippines. Filipinos accept bilingual education, around 90% Filipinos can speak English.
English teaching is generally used in the Philippines from primary school to college and university. In the Philippines government documents, commercial trading, and foreign contacting, English is also used.
In fact, Filipinos' English proficiency is internationally recognized. A report from the Huffington Post said, the US Education Testing Service Center once evaluated the English level of each country based on TOEFL scores. The result shows that the Filipinos' English level ranks third in Asia, second only to Singapore and India. Many European and American companies choose the Philippines to set up their overseas call centers.
Due to its high popularity, English education in the Philippines is relatively mature. The country dispatches a large number of English teachers each year to countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, South Korea and some Middle East and Latin American countries.
In addition, there are numerous English language training schools in the Philippines. Every year, they accept a great number of students from Japan and Korea who come to learn English.
How about the teachers' proficiency?
When accepting an interview by local media in February this year, the acting director of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency said that Filipinos who go to China to serve as English teachers need to meet the following requirements: hold a master degree or above, have a TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), reach a certain TOEFL score, have relevant training experience, have more than two years English teaching experience and good communication skills.
In view of the continual development of the Philippine-Chinese relations, Valdes says that he hopes China can send more Chinese teachers to teach young Filipinos Chinese in the future.
His children used to study Chinese, he says, but there are not many schools in the Philippines that offer Chinese courses. He hopes there could be more Chinese teachers in the Philippines in the future.
Labor export supports the national economy
The Philippines is one of the largest labor-exporting countries in the world. Overseas labor service remittances take up about 9% of its GDP.
The number of overseas Filipino contract workers is about 2.4 million, which is around 2.4% of its total population. Besides, There are even a larger number of Filipino immigrants and settlers, so the total number of Filipinos working overseas can be nearly 10 million.
Filipino overseas workers are mainly divided into these categories: service staff (including housekeepers, caregivers, etc.), occupying about 37.8% of overseas workers; experts and technicians, taking up about 20% of overseas workers; manufacturing workers and trade personnel respectively accounting for about 15% and 16% of overseas workers.
Overseas labors have a higher social status in the Philippines. Every June 7th is the overseas labor day according to the Philippines government. Every Christmas, the President and relevant department ministers always personally greet and welcome overseas workers back home to visit relatives.