Important Changes to Laws for the ESL Industry in China

 In Blog

Since 2018, there have been rumours of the Chinese government tightening the rules around the educational requirements for online ESL tutors. While China is in desperate need of ESL tutors both face to face and online over recent years they have gradually made it more difficult for even experienced teachers to gain employment within the country. These requirements for face-to-face teaching now include having to have a degree, having a TEFL certificate, having experience, being under a specific age and having a passport from one of 7 countries.


But until recently the online tutoring sphere had been unaffected by these changes allowing Chinese online tutoring platforms to flourish, ESL tutors from around the world to share their knowledge of English online, and for students to benefit.


In early 2018 the Chinese Ministry of Education announced it would be making changes to what would be expected of after-school programs, whether they be sporting or educational to bring them into line with school regulations. They would also be restricting the hours that these programs could be offered to students to help reduce the extra-curricular workload that some students were facing.


In regards to ESL tutoring, this means that there have been many noticeable changes since 2018 with more to come. Many changes more to do with how the companies are run, but there are numerous issues that will affect online ESL tutors in the coming months. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an official timeline of when the online tutoring platforms are expected to comply. However, it seems that these changes will be enforced as of the end of 2020.


So what are the changes and how do they affect you?


The first major change which occurred in 2018 was that all online ESL tutors were required to have an accredited TEFL/TESOL certificate prior to starting work. Previously, if an applicant could show they were working towards their certificate they would be able to be employed.


It is the coming changes that will have the most effect on online ESL tutors. These changes include:

  • Platforms will display the tutor’s personal information online for students and parents to view (like Full Name, Date of Birth, Degree, Photo, Schedule, Experience)
  • Tutors will have to supply a criminal history background check at their own cost
  • Tutors will have to have a Bachelor’s degree, no matter what their previous ESL tutoring experience is
  • Tutors will have to have at least 2 years teaching experience (though a good resume writer can help with this)
  • Available work hours will be decreased


So, while there are many online tutoring companies still hiring teachers without these requirements, there will come a time in the near future where the tutors who don’t meet these requirements will lose their job and their income.


If you are an inexperienced ESL tutor with no degree you may wish to jump in now and get as much experience as possible before the changes come into place, or maybe even hope that some platforms will flout the laws. It is definitely a chance to earn some money and gain experience while deciding what your other options might be (perhaps as a freelancer or independent tutor).


If these changes do affect you as an experienced tutor, or you are concerned about the chances of securing work once you complete your TEFL/TESOL certificate, read Why Choose ESL Tutoring as a Job. You’ll discover that there is more to the ESL industry than just teaching online to children in China and that the need for online ESL tutors whether they are degree educated, highly experienced, native or non-native speakers is only growing.


eTefl Online provides you with all the tools and resources you need to follow the ESL tutor career path that best suits your skills, qualifications, and experience. Whether you’re just starting out and need your TEFL certificate plus guidance to get a job, or you’ve already got your TEFL certificate but need assistance to land a job, eTefl Online has you covered.

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