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Teacher's message violates norms

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-18 08:02

A parent of a student of a school in Foshan, Guangdong province, exposed an insulting mass text message sent out by a teacher on weibo revealing the names of the students who had failed to get scores above 80 and called them "rubbish". This has angered students' parents as well as the school authorities. The case, despite the school's denial, may have something to do with performance pay, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

Mass text messages revealing the names of school students who score low marks violate the Law on the Protection of Minors, which stipulates that "no organization or individual shall disclose the personal secrets of minors". Teachers who send out such messages also discriminate against and humiliate students.

Apart from the temperament of the teacher who sends out such messages, another reason for such acts is the performance appraisal system in schools. Since the performance-based pay system for teachers employed in compulsory education schools was implemented in 2009 it has become a controversial issue, with supporters defending it by saying the system is fair and could make teachers more pro-active in their attitude.

But according to a survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average score of students in a country does not necessarily depend on whether schoolteachers are subjected to a performance-based pay system. Besides, many teachers may fail to understand the importance of the system. So it is highly likely that the teacher involved in the Foshan incident might have tried to vent his personal anger on the students whom he termed "rubbish".

The text messages could prove to be a costly lesson for the teacher at a time when social media have been monitoring social developments and keeping a close watch on the actions of officials and other public servants. Perhaps creating more opportunities for teachers' promotion and increment could help cleanse the education system of the existing malaise.

(China Daily 04/18/2013 page9)

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