I don't think that there is anybody alive in the tacky UK Tefl scene who is not aware of the current government's proposals to regulate foreign students' access to the marvel that is the British education system. Take a quick look here if you've been stoned for the past month or so and are still in the dark about this.
This wonderful system apparently embraces the UK's abysmal EFL scene, and certain EFL organisations in the UK (English UK, for example) are up in arms over what they see as a restriction on their invoilable right to have their cake AND eat it - i.e., to 'regulate' their own industry and exclude teachers' pay and conditions from the equation at the same time. Hence this petition on the government's number10.gov.uk website.
Anyway, there are many opinions about these proposals, but for starters take a look below at what one particular EFL teacher (a.k.a Agent C) in the UK thinks about the whole idea. I'll add some notes of my own at the end, and follow up with the opinion of certain vested interests from the mighty powerhouse that is the UK's Tefl Trade in a later posting. However, you'd do well to start with the bullshit below...
English Language Teaching in the UK - Please sign the petition
The UK Government is on the threshold of destroying one of its strongest export industries, the English language teaching sector, worth billions of pounds annually to the UK in visible and invisible exports.
Tier 4 of The PBS, launched in April, brought sweeping changes to the international education sector. The governments aim was to rid the UK of bogus colleges, which were not just a security threat but also a blot on the UK's unassailable reputation in education. This work has not been completed.
A further aim was to streamline the issuing of study visas. Some changes were welcome, others serve only to turn bona fide students away from the UK. The government now aims to further restrict international students from studying in the UK. That will devastate this vibrant and highly professional industry, leading to mass redundancies in language schools, secondary schools, colleges & universities, with huge losses to the economy and Treasury.
The English language is a crown Jewel - let's protect and nurture it!
Tefl.com, albeit one of the better recruiters in the world of TEFL, recently backed a petition to condemn the government’s changes to the international education sector – Tier 4 of the PBS (see text above). I was alarmed and quite shocked when I read this and immediately responded to Telf.com – who have as yet not replied– voicing my incredulity as to why they would not support this Act.
Alarmist statements such as ‘The UK Government is on the threshold of destroying one of its strongest export industries’ do nothing to resolve the current plethora of below par EFL schools in the UK. These schools – many already named and shamed on this and other blogs – abuse the system, they take anyone who pays, they underpay their teachers and they often flagrantly break the law. Add to that the potential terrorist threat, which is admittedly low, I can see no reason to oppose the proposals. In fact, I think we should support the government's efforts, irrespective of why they plan to change the law.
Agent C, London
Well, thanks very much for that bold statement of your opinion on the subject, Agent C. I'd be very interested to know whether there are any other Teflers out there who share Agent C's disregard for the petition - use the comment facility below ... if you're bothered.
My own view on the matter is, of course, quite idiosyncratic. If this legislation actually serves to get rid of the many hundreds of UK visa factories and sweat shops passing themselves off as 'language schools', then I'm very much in favour of it. And let them thump those poncey cunts with Celtas who think they can teach, too. Yeah, they should all be given the push, along with their crappy 'schools', and made to go back to working at Tescos or TKMaxx. 'S right, innit!
Clearly, though, the best thing will be the absence of students from those countries whose citizens typically disappear into the black economy the day after they arrive in the UK. Here I'm thinking of those those hordes of awful Chinese 'students' who smell like old vegetables and clean their wonky yellow teeth with little sticks of wood. Is that why their breath always smells so bad too?
In fact, come to think of it, I rather think the British Government needs to introduce some some sort of hygiene requirement on the Chinkies if they want a visa - that they learn how to use tooth-paste and soap before they enter the UK. I'll be writing to my MP to inform her of my proposals - I'm sure she'll be impressed by my grasp of the intricacies of the delicate interface between international diplomacy and domestic labour requirements!