NETs make sacrifices when deciding to teach in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 October, 2015, 12:01am

I am a native-speaking English teacher (NET) and would like to present a few facts about our salaries.

NETs are paid at exactly the same salary rate as local teachers and they are on the same increment scale. Their teaching loads, additional duties and hours of attendance are equitable to local teachers. But, as well as being on the same salary scale as NETs, local teachers have more opportunities to take on positions of responsibility and many have ongoing employment status.

In addition to these benefits, many local teachers enjoy family and community support in regards to housing, transport and flexibility in employment opportunities. Local teachers and their children enjoy continuity in their lifestyles and a range of educational choices for their children. Local teachers have greater opportunities to purchase a home (15 per cent extra stamp duty for non-locals).

NETs make sacrifices to work in Hong Kong, as things like the size of houses and access to sporting facilities and entertainment are generally better in the English-speaking countries of origin of NETs.

To attract highly-skilled and qualified NETs, and lure them away from such home comforts, and to compensate for those lost opportunities, NETs are given a special allowance.

Further, a gratuity that is paid to NETs is "conditional" on a NET's performance and is only payable after the completion of a two-year contract. The Mandatory Provident Fund of local teachers is calculated daily and secure.

NETs must have at least two years' experience before joining the scheme. This guarantees a degree of "broken service" in an NET's career that local teachers can avoid.

NETs get an airline ticket to fly in at the start of their contract, and another at the end of it. This is not a paid holiday. It is standard practice in any industry. (We want you here, here's a ticket in and out.)

Where is the huge pay disparity between local teachers and NETs alluded to in Kelly Yang's column ("Together, local teachers and NETs can boost English learning", October 7)? There isn't one.

The Education Bureau's NET scheme offers a fair package that recognises a range of aspects of a teacher's career when considering remuneration. Some people seem to comprehend the dollars, but cannot recognise the sense of attracting and retaining high-quality and career-minded professionals.

Dan Murphy, North Point