I was trying to figure out how many teachers get deported from Taiwan for violating their work permits. Unfortunately, the Immigration agency does not release this information. Might be interesting to do a freedom of information request.Another poster quickly pointed out that in 1992 open work permits didn't really exist. In those days everyone was teaching gray-market using various approaches, such as getting a visa to "study Chinese" WINK WINK. Feiren then added some more information:
But I did find stats on the number of teachers here with work permits and was surprised to learn that in 1992 there were just 1,500 teachers here on work permits. Now at that time they had just begun issuing work permit and residence cards to teachers and most teachers still flew to Hong Kong every six months. But as late as 2000 there were still only 3,800 foreign teachers legally residing in Taiwan. That figure peaked in 2004 at 6,831 and stayed above 6,000 until June of this year when it declined to 5,749. In October there were 5,946.
Thus the number of legal teachers has increased by one-third in the past decade and increased four times since 1992. Those figure suggest an over supply of teachers, which might explain why wages are decreasing and employers are becoming more selective.
I don't think there are stats for buxiban students, adult or children.Five years ago I wrote about this (holy crap, this blog has been around over five years!), asking why teacher pay is basically the same as it was when I was here 20 years ago. The reason is the economic condition known as perfect competition:
Here are some numbers for students in various private and public schools.
In 1992, there were 2.2 million elementary school students and 1.79 million junior high school students.
In 2009, there were 1.59 million elementary school students and 948,000 junior high school students. Of course, because there are fewer kids, parents have more resources to spend on the kids they do have, so I would guess that the number of students studying English probably increased even as the total number of students declined.
Another interesting set of figures from the MOE is the percentage of household income that can be allocated to education. The average figure peaked at around NT$48,000 in 2004 and decline to NT$42,500 in 2009. There was a drop of more than 10% in 2008. That tracks the declining number of English teachers over the same period by almost the same amount c. 11.5%.
As the chains proliferated, the size of schools began to shrink rapidly. It is now the case that around large elementary schools in Taiwan there may be a dozen or two English schools, each serving only a few score students. Essentially a situation of perfect competition has arisen in the market, where producers are small relative to market size, prices are equal to marginal cost and marginal revenues, and everyone knows the market well. Schools must struggle to keep costs down if they want to stay alive. Growth is difficult, for if the market increases anywhere, another school will quickly open to subdivide the market. Teacher pay is a major cost component for schools. With competition intense, and everyone facing the same cost structures, it was inevitable that teacher pay should become identical and stagnant within local markets.Everyone always blames the South Africans for stagnant teacher pay (but never Americans because everyone knows we are overweight, overprivileged, and overpaid) but they are wrong. The issue is the conditions of the market -- both owners and parents know the price of an English class, the textbooks, etc, and everyone offers the same thing throughout most of the market, just as with tea shops or breakfast places. The proliferation of schools means that demand for teachers has risen even though the number of students has fallen because (1) there are more schools and (2) class sizes have shriveled.
Further, Feiren made a nifty catch when he pointed out that few children means more kids are studying English since more money can be lavished on them. He also observed that the fall in cram school teachers tracks the fall in household expenditures on education, another indication that the problem is a structural factor like perfect competition and not hordes of South Africans or Canadians. Nice spot, Feiren.
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