City teachers will work in rural schools
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-08 05:55
Rural children are expected to enjoy quality education with the introduction
of a rotation system by which teachers from cities will work in rural schools
nationwide, the Ministry of Education announced yesterday.
As part of a drive to build a new countryside, college graduates will also be
encouraged to teach in rural areas, ministry spokesman Wang Xuming told a press
briefing in Beijing.
Graduates who apply for the project could be granted a master's degree in
education after working in a rural school for four years.
Wang said the policies are in line with the country's 11th Five-Year Plan
(2006-10), which emphasizes strengthening the quality of teaching in the
He said mere access to schools would no longer be the main problem in rural
education, as basic school fees for rural children will be abolished in 2007.
"Instead, improving the quality of rural education will become the focus and
is a key to building a new socialist countryside," he said.
Ministry officials admitted that the huge gap between urban and rural
education has been holding back the development of the countryside, and low pay
and poor working conditions have resulted in a serious shortage of qualified
teachers in poor areas.
"Qualified teachers in poor rural areas have been scrambling to leave for
township or county schools," said Guan Peijun, director of the ministry's
teaching staff department. "English, computer science, music, art and physical
education curricula are facing very serious teacher shortages."
Currently, a large number of temporary teachers work at rural schools.
Ministry figures show that at least 500,000 teachers who do not have
certificates taught at primary and middle rural schools in 2004, accounting for
10 per cent of the total rural teachers.
To ease the shortage, Education Minister Zhou Ji said last Wednesday rural
teachers' pay might be brought into line with that of civil servants, and the
Compulsory Education Law, which is being revised, is expected to make it
mandatory for urban teachers to teach for some time in rural areas before they
The project to encourage college graduates to teach in rural areas, which has
been experimented in 19 provinces and autonomous regions since 2004, will be
carried out nationwide later this year.
About 1,125 college graduates have applied for the project, in which one year
of study in college will follow the four years of teaching.
Ji Baocheng, president of the Renmin University, said that China's current
education spending, at about 3 per cent of its GDP, is not compatible with its
social and economic development.
China has mapped out a plan to gradually increase its education budget to 4
per cent of GDP by 2010. But Ji said that the goal was still "much lower" than
the world average, which is 4.4 per cent.
(China Daily 03/08/2006 page2)