BEIJING - China's education authorities warned Wednesday that they will enforce contracts to ensure teaching college graduates work in rural schools in exchange for free tuition.
The first batch of state-funded normal college students are due to graduate next year and the Ministry of Education is expecting provincial authorities to employ them.
Song Yonggang, vice director of the ministry's Department of Teacher Education, told a press conference that provincial governments must see to it that such students are employed, quoting a government circular.
"If a province fails to do so, the ministry will cut its quota of college enrollment by the ministry affiliated normal universities," said Song.
The scheme to train normal school students for free began in 2007. The students sign contracts with universities that after graduation they will teach at primary and secondary schools in their home-towns.
According to circular, the students must serve two years in rural schools before they can be recruited by urban schools. The circular said they should be paid the same as urban school teachers.
Song said the ministry would supervise the fulfillment of contracts. Defaulters would have to repay tuition fees and a fine.
The ministry also asked provincial education authorities to establish integrity files for each student, and disclose the default records.
China has enrolled 34,000 tuition-free normal school students in past three years, 90 percent of them from underdeveloped central and western China, according to the ministry.