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Kindergarten education starting to change

By Guo Ying/Pan Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-24 07:12
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Guo Chunpeng, a role model loved by his students, teaches maths in a primary school in Nanyang, Henan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Should men be offered perks to teach?

Since the fall of 2007, at least five provinces in China have introduced policies aimed at attracting male schoolteachers. In Fujian province, for example, male students are being offered various incentives, including free tuition for graduate studies.

Last year, Cai Zhuanyun, a deputy to the Shanxi provincial congress, proposed to offer incentives such as free tuition in response to the decreasing number of students, especially male, who are willing to study in teachers colleges.

But the measures have drawn criticism for being discriminatory toward women. In many colleges and universities across the country, female students account for more than 80 percent of the student population. The demand for male teachers therefore remains high in the education sector.

Supporters of such policies say the gap between supply and demand has made it necessary for the authorities to take drastic measures, and will likely encourage more young men to become teachers. They further argue against suggestions of discrimination.

But their opponents say the preferential treatment is unfair for aspiring female teachers.

Should male students in teachers colleges be offered free tuition and other incentives?


The government should do something to address the shortage of male teachers.

1. The shortage is a real problem. The lack of male role models is not good for students' overall development. To solve the problem, some unusual steps are justified.

2. Free tuition and better career prospects can prove attractive to male students. Some men might think of giving up teaching because of the costs involved and the lack of future job security. The policies can ease such fears.

3. Not only do female students outnumber men in normal colleges, the same phenomenon is occurring in some other fields as well. If this experiment succeeds in attracting men to teaching, the strategies could be used to address gender imbalances in other disciplines, too.


It is wrong and unfair to offer preferential treatment to people of only one gender.

1. There are other means of attracting more young men to the profession, such as increasing the overall pay of teachers. Instead of creating an uneven playing field between male and female students in teachers colleges, the government should work on making teaching a more desirable job.

2. Even if provinces like Fujian want to attract more male students to normal colleges, it does not need to offer preferential treatment to male students. Men have always received preferential treatment in our patriarchal society.

3. Teaching is often perceived to be a job more suitable for women, especially in lower grades at schools. Free tuition and other perks do nothing to quash the gender stereotyping that portrays teaching as an "effeminate" profession.

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