Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Price the Petition?

So, here's the next instalment in the Tefl petition saga. I present, with total impartiality - which is a very queer thing for me - two views from certain vested interests about the whole shenanigans.

Please give them a good scrutiny, and then let me know how YOU, dear downtrodden Tefler, feel about the prospect of losing your crappy job if you don't support the bosses in this. Erm, I mean ... make your own minds up, guys!


The View from the Press

The government have gone demented and decided to subject international students to the kind of constant testing the school kids have to put up with. They have a bizarre obsession that the lower a student's level of English, the more likely they are to get a job and disappear into the black economy. They already demand that international students are level A2 (PET) before they are allowed into the country, and they want to not allow anyone in whose level of English isn't B1.

They are also planning to make it illegal for anyone from outside the EU to come in and study for A-levels or IB (degrees only). They also seem to be saying that if you are above Ielts 6 (C!) and you are studying English for some reason (say business English), you will have to take an exam at Masters level. English UK is right on this - the ministers have taken leave of their senses. It will smash a lot of schools and it will lose a lot of teaching jobs.

What they are wrong on, of course, is the wording on the petition which says Britain has the best educational system in the world. They are wrong here on two counts; first the UK doesn't come at the top of any world ranking of education anywhere - we're absolutely bog average for the EU according the European commission. They are also wrong to say that English UK and British Council accreditation has anything to do whatsoever with education.

The View from the Bosses

1. Should the minimum level of qualification that can be studied through the PBS be raised from NQF level 3? No, as this would raise the level of courses beyond the scope of most language schools, as well as stopping students taking A levels in independent schools.

2. Should the minimum level of English language qualification that can be studied in the UK through the PBS be raised from CEFR level A2? No, as this would mean that only students with an Intermediate level of English or above could come to the UK to study.

3. Should English language testing be introduced for all courses of NQF level 5 and below, including English language courses, and if so, through what mechanism? No, as this could force all students wishing to study in the UK to undertake tests in their own country before enrolling on a course, which would cause additional hardship, delay and expense, compared to studying in other countries.

4. Should access to vocational courses be restricted? No. Many students study vocational courses to help them with their careers. Why should this option be taken away from them? We believe this question may be because there are a lot of bogus colleges offering bogus vocational courses. The government should control these colleges through proper accreditation bodies, such as British Council/English UK .

5. Should we restrict the work rights attached to student visas? No. Students are permitted to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week at present. Taking away this opportunity to help them support themselves, when they have already paid high fees for their courses, will make it less attractive for students to come to the UK . This measure will not cure unemployment, as students only take part time temporary jobs.

6. Should we place limits on the progression of students on courses up the qualifications scale without their returning to their home countries? No. Making students return home would enormously damage progression into university courses, and make the whole education process far more expensive for them.


So there you have it - two not-so-independent views from Britain's tacky Tefl Trade. And what about the views and opinions of the many thousands of humble classroom Teflers in the UK? What about that? Where is their analysis of the situation?

For starters, do you feel comfortable about giving your unconditional support to the efforts of EnglishUK (the sponsors of the petition), who have done so much to keep your wages and working conditions at Dickensian levels over the years? Or do you think there should be some element of quid pro quo here? What should EFL teachers in the UK be demanding as the price of their support?

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear from you. E-mail me on teflsandy@yahoo.ie, as always.


David Amory said...

Seems to be all about UK employment, immigration etc
but does anyone know any interesting stories about people who have GONE ABROAD to work in EFL because they are not qualified to get any sort of decent wage in the UK?

King John said...

There's a general feeling that 'the ministers have taken leave of their senses' at present. In fact the ministers are doing this in a cold and calculating way. The (unstated) intention is to deliberately destroy the small, privately owned tefl schools which make up the bulk of the tefl industry in the UK. Once these schools are abolished, the government can take the entire industry into the public sector where it can be controlled, vetted, made political and so on.
So there isn't much point, really, in trying to tell the government that what they're doing is reckless and daft. They know that, that's why they're doing it.
UK teflers should be mentally preparing themselves for life in the public sector, with the slightly higher salary but nightmarish working environment which this will bring. Either that, or you should be encouraging your schools to branch out into other areas of training.
Good luck, guys.

By the way, I start back at Windsor English in January.

Leon Servich said...

Re."does anyone know any interesting stories about people who have GONE ABROAD to work in EFL@..."

I went to work abroad BECAUSE I could earn more money than in the UK and with better conditions - I worked 5 yrs in London in the 90's - you need to get out more.

In fact, you will have to get out more, much more and much further if you want to get a job after Tier 4 - try the Middle East for starters, lovely weather all year round ;-)

Tony Watt said...

I understand your thinking “why help the employers if they are screwing you?” I also understand that the teachers and staff will feel any loss of revenue first, not the owners.

Thought it was hard to get paid leave, paid breaks, paid for paperwork, lesson planning, test marking, etc? Thought the hourly rate was low? Thought the job stability was poor? Well, any reduction to revenues or even the uncertainty about future income will not bode well for any of that to change.

I would be very happy if signing the petition could be linked to improving teacher/staff working conditions, and that would be the ideal first task for a TEFL Union - looking for a new job Sandy, why not start one?

Btw, I have already signed.



david amory said...

Read the question carefully, "because they are not qualified to get any sort of decent wage in the UK"
ie teflers are not qualified to get any sort of decent wage in the UK. That's why it pays more to stack shelves in Tesco because teflers are one step up from worthless. If you can't make it inb the UK you have to go abroad and soon it is going to get a whole lot worse. Ha

Mr Branston Pickle said...

please no more about low wages.
Moan any more and there will be no wages

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, an entertaining story, of sorts, Mr Pickles, but I don't see what relevance it has here. It looks like some sort of half-baked diatribe scribbled up by a Republican Yankee anti-taxation nutter. Anyway, I can't see 'tax the rich' written on this blog anywhere.

Actually, you could apply it to EFL in the UK - just keep on paying crap wages and the good teachers will drift away to other shores or other jobs (teaching in the state sector?) - even stacking shelves at Tescos if the pay's better and the conditions are an improvement. Yes, keep on beating up the well-qualified and experienced Teflers, and they'll take their trade elsewhere.

As Leon S has remarked above, plenty of EFL teachers give up trying to make a living in London due to the derisory wages and the expence of living in the capital.

But as for your anti-tax rant --- what did you drink last night?!?

Paul O said...

If you sign that petition the government will find you and watch you with a telescope.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Good point, Paul. There's no point willingly stepping into the intricate web of government surveillance, is there?

But do you think they could find some bugger with the name of Sandy McManus? No, nor do I...

mr pickle said...

Mmm, an entertaining story, of sorts, Mr Pickles, but I don't see what relevance it has here.

Dear Oli Mcmanus,
Relevance? Don't make me laugh - most comments and replies here are written by loonies.
Fundamental reason for blog existance is lack of understanding of economics.
Tax the "rich" business owners (ie by paying higher wages) and they'll leave the industry. More shysters move in - lower wages for what's left or no jobs at all.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Hi again mr pickle!

I did like your comment: "most comments and replies here are written by loonies." Clearly you've realised the status of your own remarks now!

And here's proof: if you think that paying staff higher wages represents a tax on the 'rich' business owners, you clearly need a course of economics too!

Loony? Wot, mr p? No way, man!!

Paul Owe said...

Please learn my 3 laws of economics:

1. Take cash only.

2. Pay cash only.

3. Keep spare cash in vending machine.


Paul Owe said...

And also my three laws of management style:

1.Recruit a cross-eyed failed chef and make him school manager.

2. Let this idiot try to deal with police, bailiffs, customer complaints etc while you hide in a cupboard.

3. When the court case comes around, hope he pleads guilty as well. Then you both end up with criminal records!!

Simple when you know how!

King John said...

To be fair, Paul actually hid in the attic, not in a cupboard.

Clarence Rhode said...

In every corpuscle of the business, they are indistinguishable.

The Debt Collector said...

And don't forget those other shysters, the SWINDON Swindlers, namely UKhelp4U. Just click on the image and you can read all about them. But be quick, before they disappear (again)!

leon c said...

As for "... Don't make me laugh - most comments and replies here are written by loonies."
I thought that was a prerequisite for being a Tefler (and being here - sorry ed). And as Sandy said, you obviously fail to grasp even basic economics - thought of applying for a job as chancellor for the next tory gov?!
Once again, everyones complete lack of enthisiasm for the topic in question shines through like a dose of clap - we deserve everything we get.
But I get £35k++ a year because I DON'T work in the UK ( with no 'generation of collaborative objectives or paradigms' in sight)and I have a better lifestyle,and there are no elections, and... Think on...