US-listed firm seeks to hire 100,000 Filipino English teachers
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US-listed firm seeks to hire 100,000 Filipino English teachers

RANKED second best in Asia on Education First’s English Proficiency Index, the Philippines is a popular country for international recruiters.

In light of this, a multinational e-learning platform is looking to hire 100,000 Filipinos to teach the language online.

By the next five years, US-listed 51Talk, which currently employs 16,000 Filipinos out of its 18,000 online English teachers is looking to hire the thousands of workers to cater the growing demand for them, especially among Chinese students.

The company’s founder and CEO Jack Huang said the move would tap into the demand for English proficiency with online education estimated to be worth US$50 million, according to ABS-CBN News.

“We believe that Filipino teachers are the best teachers, best online English teachers in the world to teach Chinese kids,” Huang was quoted as saying.

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He said Filipinos are naturally happy and friendly, which makes them a perfect fit to teach children aged 5 to 12 years who make up the bulk of the company’s students.

Growing Chinese middle-class

51Talk Philippines country manager Sue Ting told SunStar the demand for English teaching is growing in tandem with the rise of the Chinese middle class and its wider affluence, prompting schools to offer the subject to equip young Chinese with the ability to communicate better with those from other cultures.

But while many Chinese pass standardised English tests easily under the classroom approach, effective communication with other English speakers was still a challenge.

According to Sue, this issue prompted the formation of 51 Talk, which is now the biggest online English language teaching company.

Recently, 51talk, which set up its base of operations in the Philippines, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


This picture shows a computer user in Hong Kong, 27 March 2007, looking at an image of online Mandarin teacher Lily Huang at her home on Hainan island, mainland China. Source: AFP

Filipinos, Sue said, were the “best-equipped” to teach English to the company’s Chinese clients.

“My background is in linguistics and second language acquisition, and I believe that the most effective way to improve one’s ability to learn or speak English is to have one-on-one lessons with English speaking teachers.”

Sue said the Philippines was considered the top English speaking country in Asia and the Filipinos’ English proficiency is “very high” as evidenced by the rapidly-growing number of call centers in the country.

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“Filipinos are extremely passionate and very familiar with Western culture, making them the perfect choice to be English language teachers for Chinese students,” she said.

“We go through hundreds of resumes daily, and select only the best candidates, with preference to teachers with teaching experience. They need to undergo a stringent recruitment process, with the final test being an actual teaching demo with a live client.

“After that, we provide multiple training sessions every month to ensure that our teachers can pass on the best knowledge to our students in the most effective way.

“We invest a lot in our teachers’ training and development, and ensure that our teachers love their job, because only in that way can we be sure that they love their students from the bottom of their heart,” she added.