Education officials will conduct their own global recruitment drive for native English-speaking teachers because having a consultant do it would be too expensive. The Education Department said all tenders for the project were too high. The department was organising interview panels, expected to fly overseas to meet applicants next month. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said in his policy address last year that each secondary school could hire at least one more native English-speaking teacher to reinforce language teaching. The department placed advertisements overseas and invited help to hire teachers. It received 2,129 applications: 768 from Canada, 719 from Australia, 124 from New Zealand, 104 from Britain, 84 from Hong Kong, 80 from the United States and the rest from other Asian countries. Senior education officer Tsui Chi-wing said yesterday the department wanted 360 new teachers. 'We are now screening the applicants. Initial findings show about 40 per cent of applicants should be qualified,' he said. He said it was too early to say whether the department would be able to fill all available positions. Teachers who had majored in English language, English literature or English linguistics would be considered first. 'In case we really can't fill the places, we will consider teachers who majored in other academic subjects,' he said. 'And we might launch a second recruitment.' To attract expatriates, the Government has promised the teachers an extra $13,000 allowance each month.