Thursday, February 28, 2008

Teacher Pedophile Arrested: Indonesia

For further details please view our new website here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lee Takes Office: ESL Promises

President- elect Lee Myung Bak finally took office this past Monday, February 25th, to a crowd of 55,000 spectators at Korea's National Assembly. Lee's landslide victory on December 17th was due in large part to his promise to lift South Korea's somewhat stagnant economy up 7 percent by 2017. Among his other plans, he intends to double per capita income to $44,000 by creating new trade partners, cutting taxes and implementing the first stages of his controversial Seoul-to-Busan canal system, which is estimated to cost 16 trillion won (16.8 billion US). Tied to all of these projects is the commitment to increase and strengthen the English language proficiency of the country's workforce.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

ESL Scams Part 1: Money Up Front

The global ESL industry is ripe with scams, schemes and frauds. As an industry that primarily relies on long-distance communication via the Internet and telephone to conduct its business, verifying the authenticity of employment opportunities is extremely important. If you have questions an employer can't or won't answer, that's usually the first sign something is wrong. If a job looks to good to be true, i.e. an outrageous salary and great benefits, then it probably is. If an employer asks you for something you shouldn't have to provide, like money for processing papers or an airfare through their company, then you may have stumbled upon a scam.

Full article can now be seen on the new website:

More stories at:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Middle East Calling

Reminder: ESL Daily has expanded and can now be viewed at

At the moment, Qatar has a shortage of British schools, but this will soon change as several new international schools are set to open this year in the capital, Doha. The British embassy recently announced that a number of schools will open as soon as September 2008. Responding to student's demands for a British curriculum, the British embassy is working in conjunction with the Supreme Educational Council (SEC) to open even more facilities in the nest few years. The schools will be open to Qataris as well as international students.

The Middle East has been an alternative destination for many teachers in recent years, offering an extremely unique, if somewhat strict, environment in which to live and teach. With the expansion of schools and a growing demand for Western curriculums, it may soon become an even more viable alternative for teachers looking to escape Asia's recent fluctuating and relatively volatile ESL market.

For more, refer to Here.
By Sean McCall

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Korea's Reversal is New Zealand's Misfortune

Reminder: ESL Daily has expanded and can now be viewed at

New Zealand's fears of a dwindling foreign student population at its international schools is a growing concern that should be shared by all English-speaking countries who enroll Korean students. Incoming Korean President Lee Myung-Bak's government has announced plans to spend 5.5 billion (US) on English education in a move to bolster the English talent and proficiency of the country's workforce and entice students to stay in Korea for their post-secondary education instead of spending their money overseas. It's a move President Lee believes will give Korea an edge in the global marketplace over its neighbours. For New Zealand's international schools this plan means trouble. According to the New Zealand Herald, who spoke with the school principle of Belmont Primary School, the school's income from international students "dropped from $114,000 in 2006 to $66,000 last year." With a strong dollar against the Korean Won, New Zealand's Korean student population, which is currently at 15,000, will likely further decrease.

Although America, Canada and Australia remain favourite overseas destinations for Korean students, New Zealand's dwindling student population could soon be a situation seen in these places as well. This all depends, of course, on how successful President Lee's plan is and if the bureaucracy that usually stifles Korea's educational system can be overcome.

For the full story in the New Zealand Herald, refer to here.

By Spencer McCall

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sri Lanka's Solution

Reminder: ESL Daily has expanded and can now be viewed at

The past few years have been tough on Sri Lanka's economy. If it's not a civil war, or a tsunami, then it's the English language bringing woes to the small island country. As India continues to dominate the global outsourcing business, Sri Lanka is missing out because of the small number of graduates with sufficient English language ability to compete in the global marketplace.

The solution to this problem is an English Task Force, proposed by Amba Research in response to a call made by the country's Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms for investment to improve English standards. Sri Lanka annually rejects thousands of students at its universities due to a lack of proper educational facilities. One of the results of this is that foreign businesses tend to overlook the country because of the small talent pool. "(Sri Lanka) sits in the right place geographically, it has the right kind of robustness around IT infrastructure in the country and there is a great education history that is recognized around the world for its high quality." With the right educational infrastructure in place and university graduates with the right skill sets, i.e. English language proficiency, Sri Lanka might be able to grab a piece of the coveted American outsourcing market that right now belongs to India and China.

Full Story

Monday, February 18, 2008

North Korea Rocks TOEFL

The statistics are in and it seems that having foreign teachers in the classroom makes absolutely no difference in the all-important TOEFL scores for Asian students.

North Korean and South Korean students are reported to have almost equal scores on the Internet based TOEFL exam (iBT). America's Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on February 14th that the average score for North Korean students was 69 out of 120 while South Korean students scored 72. This surprising statistic not only suggests North Korea is thinking ahead to the future and foreign trade, but they were also able to equal the South without spending millions of dollars on ESL education.

In South Korea, the TOEFL score is used for University admissions and it greatly influences employment opportunities after graduation. Millions of dollars are spent annually on public and private English as a Second Language education. Some of this money is spent recruiting and employing native-English speakers to teach and prepare students for the TOEFL test. But if North Korea, which does not have ESL education programs like the South, can achieve similar results on ESL standardized testing, then it is time to consider two possibilities: perhaps foreign teachers in the classroom are of no benefit for students taking an Internet-based test. Foreign teachers are not hired in the North. And if this is true, then perhaps this will result in a decrease in demand for foreign teachers in the South. But there is one more important possibility to consider in light of the iBT TOEFL test results: perhaps people shouldn't put too much weight behind Internet based testing.

For the full article, refer to:

By Sean McCall

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fake Degrees: Taiwan

The Chinese Language media has reported that up to 40% of teachers in Taiwan possess fake university degrees and are unqualified to teach ESL. Some Taiwanese University officials site the easy availability of fake degrees in Thailand as one of the major sources for the large number of unqualified teachers. According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the amount of qualified foreign teachers at cram-schools, private language institutions, was down 9% from 2006. The gap needs to be filled and fake degrees seem to be doing the job right now for most employers who are just meeting the demands of the parents who want to see someone with blond hair and blue eyes teaching their children.

The supply and demand in Taiwan for foreign English teachers has certainly been exacerbated by the discretion of consulates taking it upon themselves to regulate the visas necessary to receive an Alien Registration Card (ARC). Anyone familiar with the process will know how much of a gamble it is to go to a consulate in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Vancouver, etc, and receive an extendable tourist-visa, the only visa that allows a teacher to receive an ARC card. And a potential teacher still needs to lie to the consulate and tell them they are just vacationing in Taiwan in order to receive the extendable tourist visa. I recently just tried this and the consulate in Bangkok granted me only a 60-day non-extendable visa, which meant I could not receive an ARC card. If Taiwan wants to clean up their act, they need to clean up their visa process so everyone can stop lying to each other.

For a full report, refer to:

By Spencer McCall

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Bad Way to Spend Valentine's Day

This would be a bad way to spend Valentine's Day: in the custody of Thai police in Bangkok on charges of child sex abuse charges in the United States. Such was the case for Earl R. Bonds, a 42 year-old Missouri man working as an English tutor in Phuket. He was arrested at his apartment in Phuket Wednesday night after the FBI and Thai authorities cooperated to arrest and detain him. It is expected he will be extradited to the United States before the end of the week.

Thailand continues to be a hotspot for pedophiles and sexual deviants to find employment as ESL teachers. But with continued coordination and cooperation of international police agencies and the Thai authorities, perhaps 2008 will be another successful year of arrests following a very successful 2007. It's a good start to the year, anyway. And maybe someone will finally give Bonds some chocolate in prison.

Happy Valentine's Day!

For full details, refer to:

For a full google search on articles pertaining to this story, refer to:

By Spencer McCall

Thursday, February 14, 2008

British EFL Instructor Saved by a little Knowledge

Mr. Graham, A British foreign language teacher based in Saudi Arabia, felt the sharp pains of a stroke coming on while taking his morning shower. Knowing the symptoms of the age old killer, the 59 year old teacher raced to the hospital to receive proper care. Graham, still recovering from the stroke, but now in good shape, hopes to return to teaching in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in the near future.

Foreign English teachers around the world die every year due to careless behavior or a lack of knowledge of any medical conditions they may have. While in a foreign country, you should still be aware of your physical condition and frequent the doctor when a check-up is necessary. Your health should not be postponed due to a lack of communication in a foreign country.

Further information on Mr. Graham's story can be seen at:

By Jim Korea

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chilean International ESL Education Fair

2008 marks Chile’s 3rd edition of Expo-Ingl├ęs, an Education fair solely dedicated to English as a Second Language. This year’s fair will take place in Santiago, Chile, April 11-12, 2008.

In the past few years, Chile has increased its demand for an English literate workforce.

The first two years of the fair attracted more than 9,000 visitors and 50 different exhibitors from every major English-speaking country. Chile is definitely a country to watch for in the future for an emerging ESL market.

For more information, refer to:

By Spencer McCall

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mutual Complaints: An Editorial

“It’s not fair,” says Korea, China, and India. “Sorry,” says Canada, with a slight shrug of the shoulders. This is the way the story has gone so far. But the Vancouver Sun seems to think British Columbia should do more. And perhaps for the sake of business, they should. Korea, China and India want to, in essence, regulate the ESL industry in British Columbia for fear they’re students are being scammed at unqualified, illegitimate private language schools. These countries have gone as far as to warn their students to stay away from B.C.’s private education. Yes, there are scams. The complaint is valid. But there is a lot of exceptional foreign language education in B.C. and the rest of Canada. Yes there are some bad schools operating that need to be shutdown, but foreign language studies in other countries, particularly China and Korea are just as rife with bad business practices.

It’s the image of B.C.’s education system, say the editors of the Vancouver Sun in an editorial on Saturday, February 9th that “is being tarnished by private schools that lure students here with promises they fail to keep.” Fine, fix the system, but don’t let these countries off the hook. This is not all B.C.’s responsibility. Canada should let them know this image business works both ways. Every year, hundreds of Canadian teachers move to Asia as well as Europe to teach ESL. Many teachers return with horror stories of fraudulent schools, crooked principals, being ripped-off or treated badly. But Canada doesn’t put any pressure on those countries to improve their systems. Canada rarely reports on ESL teachers at all.

These images would be damaging to those markets that heavily rely on Canadian teachers to teach in their schools and add prestige to their businesses. In China, you can contract AIDS or HIV from dirty, repackaged needles used for the mandatory blood tests necessary to receive a work visa. In Korea, employers overcharge on tax and pocket the difference. Sometimes they don’t pay into the mandatory government pension plan, depriving employees of roughly seven hundred dollars a year. In Japan, Nova Corp., the country’s largest ESL chain, withheld payment to its foreign teachers for up to three months before going out of business in 2007. The majority of schools in Taiwan force teachers to instruct kindergarten, which is illegal for a foreign teacher. If a teacher is caught, and the police make regular raids, they are deported.

The ESL schools in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada often employ teachers with experience in these countries. If places like China and Korea want Canada to improve the quality of its foreign education, then perhaps Canada, and especially B.C., should reply with the same message. Students will continue to suffer at home or away unless everyone concerned grants teachers better, safer, working conditions. This benefits the students by having highly qualified, motivated teachers who have chosen to make this industry a career.

If Korea and China want to complain then let them. India has a very small ESL market, but if they want to complain that’s all right, let them. If B.C wants to improve their education of foreign students then it’s a positive thing. But only improve for yourselves, not because other countries are pressuring you. B.C. schools should be attracting the best foreign students who want to study in the best environment, not because B.C. education has a good brand name. But perhaps Korea and China and even India just want another brand to market.
For the Vancouver Sun editorial in full, refer to:

By Spencer McCall

Saturday, February 9, 2008

An ESL Teacher’s Marathon for Cancer Research

An ESL teacher has decided to conclude his year of teaching in Taiwan, a country he has fallen in love with, by running a 30-day marathon for cancer research. Neil O’Maonaigh-Lennon has already run 13 marathons including the ING Taipei marathon in December 2007. With an April 1st start, of his envisioned 30-day marathon, he will add a third continent to his ambitious plan of running one marathon in every continent.

O’Maonaigh-Lennon cites Terry Fox, and his celebrated 1980 “Marathon of Hope” for cancer research, as an inspiration for his own run. On the teacher’s website, which will have journals of his marathon adventures, he has offered people a choice of two organizations to donate money to, the Cancer Research UK and the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders.

People are welcome to join the run, which will cover a distance of 42km a day. The marathon will begin in Fugueijiao and follow the east cost south to Chialuoshui before turning north. O’Maonaigh-Lennon plans to take time to veer off course in order to visit some of Taiwan’s scenic hotspots.

By Sean McCall

Friday, February 8, 2008

Chinese English Teacher Caught in Train Delay

What was expected to be a regular 36-hour journey through Guangzhou province, Edward Wang describes as a hellish trip during China’s worst blizzard in over 50 years. After spending over double the time of the original trip aboard the train, food and water began to run out. People began getting desperate and knife fights broke out over food.

Chinese officials expressed to the international media that locals were struggling, but coping with the situation nonetheless. In reality, close to 7.5 billion dollars in damage has already been caused and a confirmed sixty deaths have taken place, though these numbers may rise. Another disaster awaits China if people choose not to attend the Olympic Summer Games this July as a result of the government’s slow reaction at the beginning of this crisis.

For more on Edward Wang’s story:

The BBC has reported that the Xinhua News Agency in China claims the “Widespread transport chaos ha[s] now eased.” But thousands remain without power and many families have given up trying to travel to see their relatives for the Lunar New Year. The Year of the Rat, or Earth Rat, is in Chinese astrology associated with the qualities of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and stability. And in the effort to deal with the aftermath of this storm these virtues will be put to the test.

For the BBC article, refer to:

For current weather conditions in China, refer to:

By Spencer McCall

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting Started in Thailand

The majority of nationalities entering Thailand are granted a 30-day Tourist Visa. This visa usually gives teachers enough time to receive a work permit and extended visa and allows you flexibility on deciding where to work. However, it is a good idea to know where in Thailand you would like to look for work and perhaps, if possible, already be in contact with institutions.

Once you enter on a tourist visa you can travel to the area of your work and determine if the job is right for you. If you take the position, your employer will gather the required paperwork for your extended visa. If they are timely in this and you can get to the visa office in Bangkok with 20 days remaining on your visa the in-country office will be able to process your extension. However, if you have less than 20 days remaining on your visa, it will be necessary to leave the country for the paperwork.

Make sure to double-check all the paperwork for correct spelling, especially of your name. The visa office allows no leeway in this.

Things to bring with you:
- an official copy of your university diploma
- a certified copy of your transcripts
- several passport photos (preferably all of the same picture)

Things you will probably have to do for work:
- get a health certificate (this needs to be from a Thai hospital and it is very inexpensive. They just check your blood pressure/weight/temperature and give you a paper)
- sign every document you copy for the visa paperwork to certify that they are real copies

Katherine Whitton

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Scotland to Increase ESOL Funds

In 2006, Scotland had a 30% increase in students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Trying to meet the new demand has been proven difficult on the limited government resources allocated to this program. As a result, the Scottish government announced this week it would spend 9 million pounds on expanding its current ESOL program in an attempt to accommodate an additional influx of up to 7000 more “migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees who want to attend English language classes.”

The government has not yet announced whether they will hire local or international teachers to fill the new positions. As the ESOL classes are run for the purpose of integrating immigrants into Scottish society, it would make sense to hire local, qualified teachers that would allow the students to grow accustom to the Scottish accent.

Further details can be seen at:

By Spencer McCall

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sprechen zie Deutsche? Some British Teachers Soon Will

The BBC has reported that British language trainee teachers will now spend one month abroad training in either Germany, Spain or France. The future teachers will teach cumpulsory language courses at primary schools upon their return to England. The aim of the program is to provide the student teachers with a chance to enhance their secondary language skills before beginning to teach their pupils "another subject through a modern language other than English."

For further information, refer to:

By Spencer McCall