It is the time of the year when international schools in Thailand start recruiting teachers. Kris Wya, an African-American teacher with qualifications beyond the requirements, found getting a job in the country difficult. She said it was because of her skin colour and some “smart” schools wanted her photograph so they would know who she was, an African.
Growing up in California, I found a diverse range of teachers in schools, chiefly Indians who were good at math. In the last decade, the number of minority teachers in America has doubled and it is slowly making an effect. I don’t find such diversity in schools here and the standard of teaching is appalling.
Most of the teachers spend their time browsing their smart phones or computers and drinking endless cups of coffee and arguably contribute nothing to children, who have to either sink or swim.
As a test, I asked my friends Michael, a Floridian, and Abraham, an Indian with better qualification than Michael, to apply for positions as math teachers in various schools. Inevitably, Michael got all the calls. I then asked them to mask their nationalities. Abraham was called first and when he revealed his nationality, all the schools pulled back.
The incredible story of the cave boys came to a successful fruition because of international cooperation. There is a lesson here for schools. If international schools need to be called truly international, it must hire teachers of diverse nationalities. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha must look into the anomalies existing in schools and clamp down on racism in teacher recruitment.
The education ministry needs to wake up.