Teachers should be classified as civil servants: NPC deputy
Deputies to the National People's Congress are suggesting that China is facing an uneven distribution of educational resources.
Chinese Minister of Education Chen Baosheng has told the two sessions that the Chinese government is strengthening the construction of its teaching base.
To do this, Chen Baosheng has suggested teachers' incomes and public stature should be increased with the ultimate goal of returning teaching as a profession to a higher cultural achievement in society.
NPC deputy Xu Huazheng, a Chinese teacher at the Jingzhou Experimental Middle School, is among those working on the frontline of educating the next generation of the country.
Xu Huazheng stands for the teachers working on the front line of Chinese education. [Photo: hbtv.com]
"Some teachers, especially those in developed areas are very overwhelmed with work. It's necessary to give teachers a sense of happiness at work. This includes teachers' social status and income. For example, some years earlier when the salary level was still very low, the educational subsidy for each teacher was ten yuan a month. Now our salaries have been multiplied several times, but the subsidy is still ten yuan. Thus we hope the suggestions we're proposing will be turned into legislation," Xu says.
NPC deputy Zhou Hongyu is a senior professor at Central China Normal University.
He also serves as the deputy chair of the Chinese Society of Education.
Zhou Hongyu has submitted recommendations for the past two NPC sessions to have teachers classified as civil servants.
"Teachers in China are ranked as professional personnel, as are doctors, lawyers and engineers. But teachers at public schools are also public servants. This identity has not been reflected in the education system. As a result the teachers' incomes are much lower than civil servants. If teachers are defined as special public servants and are managed within the public servant system, there incomes can be raised and protected," Zhou says.
Deputy Zhou Hongyu attends the NPC session of Hubei delegation in Beijing on Mar 9, 2018. [Photo: China Plus/Yang Guang]
Zhou Hongyu says classifying teachers as civil servants would also draw more people into the profession.
"Since teachers now have low incomes and a blurred social identity, most high school graduates, especially those elite students, are reluctant to study education majors at universities. Once teachers become civil servants and have steadier incomes and higher social status, universities which offer education majors will become more attractive and enroll more elite students," Zhou says.
At the opening session of this year's NPC, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has stressed that developing a quality education system is vital to people's livelihood.
Zhou Hongyu says his advice will help mobilize teachers to move to poorer areas as well.
"The Education Ministry has pushed forward teachers' mobilization. But it's hard, because teachers are employed and managed by schools. Teachers at good schools don't want to leave while those at poorer schools don't want to stay. The uneven distribution of teachers leads to an imbalanced education system. If teachers become classified as civil servants, they are directly managed by the government. Civil servants' mobilization is obligatory; therefore it makes teachers' mobilization more reasonable," Zhou adds.
Chinese authorities have released a new document this year for reforming the education system, which includes the likelyhood of granting teachers special legal rights similar to those of public servants.