More quality teachers for rural areas
Program to train around 10,000 students a year to teach in less-developed counties
China plans to train more high-quality teachers for less-developed regions to improve education in central and western parts of the country, a notice issued by nine central government departments said this week.
It will train about 10,000 students a year to become teachers in underdeveloped counties starting from this year, the notice said.
Issued by the Ministry of Education and eight other government departments on Tuesday, it said the six normal universities administered by the Ministry of Education and high-level normal universities under provincial government administration will be responsible for enrolling the students.
The students will not have to pay tuition or accommodation fees and will receive subsidies for living expenses, the notice said. Because they will be graduating from top-level normal universities, they will not need to pass tests to get their teaching credentials.
The students will have to sign a contract that commits them to teach at schools in underdeveloped areas for at least six years, and any contract breaches will be included in their social credit record.
Cheng Jianping, Party secretary of Beijing Normal University, said it has enrolled 401 students for the new program, completing its quota for this year.
The key to realizing the rural vitalization strategy lies in talent and education and the new program can encourage high-quality students who love teaching to devote themselves to rural education and promote the development of education in rural and western regions, he said.
Liu Yichun, president of Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin province, said education equality is the basis for social equality.
The country has taken various measures to ensure education equality, including improving teaching facilities and the quality of teachers, and setting up a financial aid system for students, he said.
The facilities and teaching equipment at rural schools have seen significant improvement in recent years, Liu said, but the quality of teachers remains the weakest link for rural education.
Nowadays, education equality is no longer limited to ensuring that all students have access to education, but about making sure they can enjoy equal access to quality education, he added.
A program launched in 2006 has already hired 950,000 university graduates to teach at more than 30,000 rural schools in more than 1,000 counties in 22 central and western provincial-level regions, the ministry said.
The central government has invested 71 billion yuan ($11 billion) in that program.
More than 95 percent of the teachers teach at schools in townships or villages, and the program has become an important channel for college graduates to find jobs, the ministry said.
It said the central government had allocated 20.6 billion yuan in subsidies to 1.3 million rural teachers from 2015 to last year.
In the past decade, more than 20 billion yuan has been allocated to provide accommodation for rural teachers, and 17.2 billion yuan has been spent on national training programs for them.