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Number of teachers continues to increase

By ZOU SHUO | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-07 10:06
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Zhang Jun, a basketball teacher, runs with his students during a PE class at the Minning Central Primary School in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. [Photo/China Daily]

Efforts paying off in raising salaries, social status, balancing regional gap

The number of full-time teachers in China has grown by 26 percent in the past 10 years to reach 18.4 million last year, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.

More than 70 percent of primary school teachers hold a bachelor's degree or higher, up from 32.6 percent in 2012, said Ren Youqun, director of the ministry's teacher education department.

The number of supervisors for postgraduate students grew from 229,000 to 424,000, while supervisors for PhD candidates increased from 69,000 to 132,000, he said at a news conference introducing the development of teachers since the 18th Communist Party of China National Congress in 2012.

Ren said that salaries have increased steadily, and all counties have accomplished the goal that the average salary of primary and middle school teachers should be no less than those of government officials.

The central government has allocated more than 25 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) in extra subsidies to 1.3 million teachers in rural areas, and another 26 billion yuan was invested by the central government in building dormitories for 830,000 rural teachers.

A special program has helped recruit 1.03 million teachers to rural schools in central and western regions, and another program has rehired 221,000 retired teachers to teach in rural and underdeveloped regions.

In the past 10 years, some 4,300 teachers have won national model teacher and exemplary teacher awards, and the social status and respect for teachers have both increased steadily, Ren added.

Primary and secondary school teachers are eligible to advance to senior professional titles while universities have the autonomy to decide teachers' professional titles, he said.

The ministry will contribute to prioritizing the development of the work ethics of teachers, making sure their salaries increase steadily and giving more teachers the opportunities to get promoted, he added.

Cai Changhua, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, said since the 18th CPC National Congress, national government expenditure on education has accounted for more than 4 percent of GDP for 10 consecutive years, and the strategy of prioritizing education development has been effectively implemented.

In the past 10 years, great efforts have been made in promoting the development of teacher training universities, especially in central and western regions, he said.

During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), the commission will give strong support to 50 high-quality teacher training universities to improve the overall quality of new teachers in the country, he added.

Tang Xiaoshu, deputy director of the Zhejiang Provincial Education Department, said that to promote more balanced education development, the province has 15,000 primary and secondary school teachers and principals rotating among different schools every year.

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