On the morning of September 9, 2014, China’s President Xi Jinping, after meeting with representatives of the outstanding educational individuals and schools, made an inspection tour of Beijing Normal University, the eve of the 30th Teachers’ Day, and he spoke with teachers and students, observed teaching activities and presided over a symposium at which he extended his respect and warm congratulations to all the educators in China.
Even the green grass and high trees at BNU smiled in celebration of Teachers’ Day. Beijing Normal University is a renowned institution of higher education known for teacher education, education science and basic learning in both the arts and the sciences. The university’s predecessor, the Normal College of the Imperial University of Peking, was founded in 1902.
During his inspection, President Xi stressed that as education is a fundamental need of the coming generation, and as the education process itself is in turn done by teachers, a country’s prosperity and a nation’s rejuvenation cannot come to pass without the development of education as a discipline. He said we need an intensified effort to build a high-quality and professional faculty characterized by high morals, a high degree of professionalism, filled with vitality, and that we will strive to cultivate a number of good teachers. He said that all teachers in China should hold strong beliefs, be of sound morals, be equipped with rich knowledge and be filled with a love of teaching, so as to make ever bigger contributions to a first-class modern education with Chinese characteristics and to cultivate qualified successors to build socialism. He said CPC committees and governments at all levels should make education a priority and make an all-out effort to promote educational reform, making Chinese education better and stronger.
At 9:20 in the morning, President Xi arrived at the main teaching building. Accompanied by Chairperson of the University Council Liu Chuansheng and BNU President Dong Qi, President Xi Jinping looked at the exhibition boards with the theme, “Respecting Teachers & Valuing Education, Building Our Future—A Theme Exhibition Celebrating the 30th Teachers’ Day.” President Xi stopped at boards titled, “Song of Teachers,” “Cultivating Teachers,” “Charisma of Teachers” and “Promoting Culture, Valuing Education,” noting the achievements made in building the faculty team and touching on the deeds of outstanding teachers in different periods after the establishment of the first Teachers’ Day. He noted how educational regulatory agencies enhance teacher morality, build an open education system and improve the teacher qualification mechanism. President Xi praised the outstanding achievements gained in education after the founding of P.R. China, the period after the opening-up policy in particular. He called for the Party and the whole of society to care about education and teachers and to support normal colleges and teacher education.
Knowing that academician Huang Zuqia, BNU Professor, Nuclear Physicist and outstanding contributor to the success of “atomic and hydrogen bombs and man-made satellites” had passed away two days before, President Xi expressed his condolences and offered comfort to the family.
BNU is the origin of the study of psychology in China and serves as an important base for psychology study in the state. Xi came into the team behavior labs and learned about difficulty evaluation and capability enhancement in the School of Psychology. He looked at the images and data indicated by scientific devices and learned he application of psychology in post-disaster reconstruction, astronaut selection and the South Pole scientific exploration. Xi spoke highly of BNU’s effort in running a school working on the frontiers of science and meeting national key demands with its own characteristics and expressed appreciation for the school’s work in improving the learning efficiency of children and youth and promoting elementary education reform. President Xi expressed a wish that BNU continue its efforts, being even more productive in exploring the principles of child and youth learning, solving various learning problems and promoting the all-around development of students.
To promote education development and cultivate more high-quality teachers in the central and west regions, China launched the “State-level Training Program for Primary and Middle School Teachers” (the Program) in 2010, to train teachers on a large scale, rural teachers in particular, via off-the-job, concentrated and/or remote training. The Program has so far trained 4.93 million teachers in four years and will have provided training for more than six million teachers from central and west China by the end of this year.
BNU is one of the first institutions to carry out this Program. An exhibition board in the No. 9 Teaching Building demonstrates the overview and major achievements of the Program. President Xi visited here to learn about this. Some fifth of the Chinese teachers from primary schools of Guizhou Province were divided into several groups in a classroom to discuss the teaching problems and perplexities that exist for teachers in west China. Xi watched their training, spoke with the teachers and asked them about local teaching conditions and their learning and lives in Beijing. Xi stressed that the Program involves teaching demonstration, providing assistance and promoting education development as its objectives, to build a professional development platform for teachers from the central and west regions, extending teacher horizons, increasing their knowledge and improving their abilities.
Nowadays, the western regions, rural areas, former revolutionary base areas, areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, remote and border areas and poverty-stricken areas are suffering from weak education; we therefore have to provide more support to them. China will be strong if youth is strong; China will be strong if the central and western regions are strong. Xi said he hopes the teachers from central and west areas will apply to their work the advanced education concepts and scientific teaching methods they are learning from the Program and make bigger contributions to local primary education reform, implementing quality education in their areas.
The wooden sculptures in the Jingshi Plaza symbolize and express the tasks of teachers. At 11:00 AM, Xi came to Yingdong Academic Hall to meet the academicians and representatives of renowned professors working at BNU, warmly greeting former educators who have made outstanding contributions to Chinese education.
Later, Xi held a symposium with representatives of the teachers and students. At the symposium, Liu Chuansheng, Chairperson of the University Council, Fang Weihai, Dean of the College of Chemistry, Ren Yacai, Advisor of the Faculty of Education, and Gulijiahan Aimaiti, a tuition-free normal student from the School of History, made remarks, discussing education, teaching, student support and learning at BNU. After hearing them, President Xi said that the importance of teachers lies in shaping souls, forging lives and crafting humanity. To become a good teacher, one must have lofty ideals, solid knowledge and a kind heart. It is a lifetime’s good fortune if one meets a good teacher. It is a glory for a school to have good teachers. A flourishing number of good teachers assure the future promise of a nation.
Xi noted that teachers have long been implementing the educational policies forged by the Party. He said they turn their minds to teaching in a down-to-earth manner. He said their huge contributions to the development of China and the rejuvenation of the Chinese people have won extensive praise and respect from the whole of society. He said, “I still remember the teachers who taught me. They taught me to learn and instructed me to be a good person, and I will remember them forever.”
Xi said, “Learn, so as to instruct others. Act, to serve as example to all.” A good teacher must hold strong beliefs. Teachers should stand together with the Party and the people, being strong believers and loyal practitioners of socialism with Chinese characteristics. They should promote the core values of socialism in classrooms and on campuses through their own actions and lead students in the pursuit of “truth, kindness and beauty” through their knowledge and experience. A good teacher has high morals. Teachers cannot shape the minds of students without their own knowledge, capabilities and value concepts of behavior, nation and people. Teachers are mirrors by which students can develop their own morals. A good teacher should adhere to the best principles, emulate those better than he/she and constantly improve his/her morals and personality, conveying the right moral outlook to students.
Xi stressed that a good teacher must have rich knowledge. Rich knowledge, great ability as a teacher, an assiduous teaching attitude and scientific teaching approaches are basic requirements of a teacher, among which knowledge serves as the foundation. A good teacher should also be a wise one, rich in wisdom, learning, social interaction, life and education, able to provide students with all-around support and guidance. A good teacher is full of love. Love serves as the soul of education, and education cannot exist without it. A good teacher seeks to nourish love with love and ignite and transmit love, reducing the distance to students with love, sincerity and a caring attitude, warming the hearts of students. A good teacher pours his/her love into students, enhances the confidence of students by appreciating them and building the self-esteem of students with trust, so that each student grows up healthy and enjoys the happiness that comes with success.
Xi pointed out that he is touched by the deeds of outstanding teachers. They dedicate all their energies to students but forget to care for themselves. Some teachers support poor students with their own low salaries, some buy teaching materials with their own incomes, some carry students on their shoulders, some hold the hands of students through torrents and over narrow and steep roads, and some disabled teachers insist on staying in their posts. Such deeply moving deeds show the great love of teachers; and we must promote those excellent deeds as well as the high morals to all teachers and to the whole of society.
Xi stressed that CPC committees and governments at all levels should realize the importance of education from a strategic perspective. They should take the development of faculty as a fundamental obligation, being enthusiastic about caring for teachers, improving their payment, enhancing their health conditions and protecting their rights, to ensure that teachers are the most respected members of society. He said we should intensify efforts to build an education system for teachers, give more support to normal colleges and consistently enhance the quality of teacher training. The whole of society should learn about the importance and the substance of what teachers do, forging an atmosphere in which teachers and education are highly valued.
Finally, President Xi Jinping emphasized that today's students are the major driving force that will realize our great Chinese dream: the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Teachers are dream builders, undertaking a mission to forge a “Dream Team.”' He urged all teachers in China to dedicate their energies and love to education.
Knowing President Xi was about to leave, the crowd of teachers and students stood along the campus road to greet him. President Xi shook some hands and waved to those gathered. “Nice to meet you, General Secretary!”, “We love you!” The BNU campus resounded with hurrahs, applause and laughter.
Wang Huning, Liu Yandong, Li Zhanshu, Guo Jinlong and leaders from related ministries accompany President Xi on his tour.
(From: Xinhua News Agency)