Looking at the issue of discrimination purely from an economic stance, it is safe to say that the schools that do discriminate, do so because they believe they can maximize profits by giving customers what they want – white teachers – and therefore signing up more students.
So looking at the problem that way, what can we do to change things for the better? Well, as Annie and others have already demonstrated, we can report these cases to the authorities which, with some patience, can lead to a hefty 100,000 NT fine for the school. The school is definitely going to think twice before discriminating again and for other schools, just having the threat of this will be a powerful financial disincentive.
Of course, there is much more to the issues TADIT address than just economics and money. Ethics, equality, morality – the important things in life – play a huge role. Changing the mindset of the students’ parents regarding the effectiveness of non white native English speaking teachers is what will really change things for good. Having effective ways to demonstrate to parents that non white English teachers from native English speaking countries do in fact have fluent English and do come from where they say they do is key to building trust between parent and school and promoting equality.
Working with schools, not against them, and helping them to educate parents is surely a priority. It’s the schools that ultimately have contact with their customers. With this in mind we have developed a brochure which can act as a starting point for a dialogue between TADIT and schools that can help to start to put the shift in mindset in place.
Thanks goes to Jolyn Peng (http://www.jolynpeng.com/), an incredibly talented Taipei based designer for putting this together!