Hi Matty -
I just saw your post as I have an interview with this school tomorrow. Are the same problems continuing that were mentioned here in the boards? What is your experience like at the moment?
Thanks for your reply -
Oh well, now I understand why I see their job ads every few months. You would think they would try to change something, but looks like they will just keep hiring people who don't do any research/desperate ones. I have learned that public schools rarely change, mostly because the staff doesn't change frequently in such institutions.
I am looking for a job in the Guangzhou/Macau area and wondered if someone can recommend some of the better run universities? I have an MA in TESOL and about 15 years teaching experience at university level, what could I expect to make?
I am actually planning to teach at BNUZ this Fall, and though your review has been a good bit disconcerning, it's given me a lot of insight as to what I should watch out for. Point 3) about the contract is really the most disconcerning point you made and I wonder if you can give more specific examples of what to keep an eye on. What kind of things have you or others been or could've been fined or terminated for?
Could you tell me a little bit more about why so many of the teachers aren't coming back? What kind of problems have they had?
I was think about applying but this review has put me off a bit.
Thanks for your very candid and very helpful review of this place. I was thinking of applying as don't really want a long term (i.e. more than 12 months) contract. However, even before I saw your post I was dubious as the salary seems very low by Chinese standards. I don't have a PhD but I do have an MA in TESOL and many years of experience in the HE sector in EAP so not sure I want to work for peanuts!
Anyway, thanks again - you probably just stopped me making a big job application mistake!
I wonder if this reflects all Normal University campuses. Recently, I wrote asking about Quanzhou Normal University, Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. Do you know anything about them?
A quick update to my review.
1. 14 of the 20 teachers employed are not returning to the school next term (Sept 2017). Take that as you will.
2. The school will begin to charge rent for the apartment.
3. The school began participating in the national social insurance plan, which takes around 400 CNY per month, based on a 10k salary. (which is required by Chinese law in Zhuhai)
Again read the contract carefully, and Martin the "recruiter" of the school will not lie, but he will be misleading. Read the contract carefully, and be aware they will use every word in it. Even the crazy bits that Martin assures you they wont.
I worked at the university for one semester and here is a review of the school, as I couldn't find any information on the school prior to coming. I have added a few things that I did not personally experience ,but the current foreign teachers have told me about in detail. I have been teaching in China for years now, so I have left out the common things that arise from living and working in China.
1. If you teach anything but College English (CE) classes the students are fairly motivated and smart.
2. There is a large expat community here, many coming from the surrounding universities but also from companies. Tangjia, 15 minute taxi ride, is a fairly nice place to hangout. Some foreign restaurants and a nice gathering of people from all over the world.
3. The apartment provided is small but livable. The security around your apartment is also excellent.
4. The campus is nice. It has some shops for food and various delicious restaurants. Though stay clear of the canteens, as one was shut down for mass food poisoning and many teachers got sick this past semester eating at the others.
5. Many buses going to other cities stop at the campus. There is even a light rail to Guangzhou that is a 5 minute bus ride away.
6. Getting to Hong Kong and Macau from the university is convenient but does take a long time.
7. Contract is for 12 months, but if you renew they will hold flight money and summer pay until the end of November of your new contract.
1. Administration. The administration in both the foreign affairs office and English department are incompetent. There are many foreign ran Wechat groups dedicated to helping one another with visa and healthcare issues, because either the administration will tell you to sort it out yourself or they have no idea.
2. Rude behavior. A number of teachers, myself included, have had run-ins with the administration that were just outright rude. Being told to go fuck yourself (not joking), or if you don't like how xyz is then you should just go. A number of teachers have been threatened with being "black listed" because they are looking for other jobs while working at BNUZ.
3. Contract. BNUZ has the most draconian contract I have ever read. It details almost every aspect of your life and behavior while working for the university. You can be fined or fired for so many small things. You should read the contract carefully and be fully cognizant of what you sign. The administration will NOT go over everything with you and will often call you into the office and say you didn't do xyz look at section 3.5.2 of your contract. The hiring manager of the school, a foreigner, will tell you they had some problems before that is why the contract is so strict, but they won't be so strict. DO NOT believe this.
4. Classes. You are assigned classes regardless of your credentials or abilities. Asking for a change is out of the question. It is a fair bet you as a new teacher, regardless of your degree level, will be teaching CE. CE is the mandatory English classes every student must take at BNUZ, and most students can't string a sentence together or can be outright disinterested.
5. Retention. 3 teachers left this semester, 2 of which are PhD's. From my understanding the administration has gotten steadily worse and around half of the teachers have already secured employment elsewhere.
6. Pay. For Zhuhai the pay they offer is not very good. In fact, every university in this area pays more, even adjusting for not offering housing. BNUZ actually has agreements with some of the other universities in the area not to hire BNUZ teachers during the typical contract term, Sept.-June, because so many new teachers leave BNUZ after one semester.
7. Zhuhai. Zhuhai city, which BNUZ is fairly far from, is an okay city. I would not recommend swimming at the beaches due to contamination, even the locals don't swim. The air quality is sometimes worse than Guangzhou. They do have shopping near Macau, but better deals and quality can be found in Guangzhou or across the border in Macau.