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China to boost ranks of teachers in rural areas

Updated: Dec 30,2021 06:59    Xinhua

BEIJING — China will roll out a host of measures to attract more high-caliber professionals to teach in rural areas and improve education quality, the State Council's Executive Meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Dec 29.

The meeting also decided on policy steps to effectively ensure equal access to compulsory education for children living with their migrant worker parents in cities.

"The Chinese nation has the tradition of respecting teachers and revering education. Ensuring educational equity is of great significance in advancing social fairness. Compulsory education is most fundamental. We must shore up weaknesses on this front," Premier Li said. "Compulsory education is now faced with two weak links, one is cultivating the ranks of teachers in rural areas; the other, schooling for children of migrant workers. These concern the people's critical aspirations and also bear on the country's development."

The pay packages of teachers in rural areas will be enhanced. The regulation that the average salary of teachers in compulsory education shall not be lower than that of public servants working in the same locality must be rigorously implemented.

Standards of teaching seniority allowances will be raised, and approving of performance-based salaries weighted toward small-scale rural schools and schools in harsh and remote areas.

Funds will be earmarked from the central government budgetary investment to improve dormitories for teachers working in harsh and remote rural areas. Localities will be encouraged to provide stable housing for teachers in rural areas.

"Thanks to the joint efforts of competent departments and localities in recent years, the benefits for teachers in compulsory education have seen improvements. Yet problems still exist, especially on implementing the policy that the average salary of teachers in compulsory education shall not be lower than that of public servants. We must intensify supervision and inspection on this matter," the Premier said.

Training for teachers in rural areas will be bolstered, better aligning such training with academic education and supporting rural teachers in getting higher academic degrees in a more convenient manner.

The program to cultivate competent teachers for designated regions will be implemented on an ongoing basis, to nurture some 10,000 undergraduates annually from normal colleges exclusively for counties that have just graduated from poverty and for land-border counties in the central and western regions.

The academic requirements for granting professional titles will be relaxed for teachers in rural areas, and the weight of teaching performance increased. Competent teachers will be guided to work in rural schools on a rotating basis. A social environment that respects teachers and reveres education will be fostered.

"The whole society should show full respect for teachers working in rural areas, to raise their social status. We should provide special support in their training, conferral of professional titles and other aspects," Premier Li said. "China has a considerable advantage in labor resources, and enhancement of their education is largely dependent on teachers in rural areas."

The meeting also required effectively ensuring equal access to compulsory education for children of migrant workers in cities, with the local governments of these children's residence and public schools shouldering primary responsibilities, and their education will be included into local education development plans and budgetary spending. Dedicated efforts will be made to deter levy of transient students fees and sponsorship fees.

Efforts will be made to lay the groundwork for providing children of migrant workers with greater opportunities to take high school entrance exams in their cities of residence. Universities and colleges will continue to enroll more students from the central and western regions and rural areas.

"China has a massive flow of people between urban and rural areas, and there are some 280 million migrant workers alone. The number of children living with their migrant worker parents in cities is growing every year, and now is over 15 million. We must adopt further measures to better meet their education needs," Premier Li said.