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Improving lives of rural teachers key to progress

China Daily, November 14, 2016 Adjust font size:

Yang Jinhua, the only teacher in Muqiao primary school, helps students with their homework on October 24, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

The government of Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, has issued a new policy to improve the working and living conditions of rural teachers at the grassroots level and to make sure the more remote the countryside school is, the higher level of treatment the teachers will receive. Guang-zhou Daily commented on Thursday:

Village teachers work in relative poverty and isolation and bear a heavy workload, which results in people's respect for those who do the job, but few who are willing to do the work.

With the efforts of all levels of government and a package of policies to make the job more rewarding, more young people will be attracted to join the profession and remain in their posts for a while.

The low pay, tough working conditions and hardships of life in remote areas mean, in reality, teachers in the remote areas tend not to stay there long. Even if the salaries for teachers in rural areas are made higher, even much more, than they are for those in urban areas, the rural teachers may still opt to leave not for salary but for a more comfortable and respectable life.

Japan is a good example to learn from. With uniform wage standards across the country, governments and societies make joint endeavors to hire more village teachers. Now, even in the remotest countryside, schools are equipped with swimming pools, music classrooms, libraries and other facilities.

To improve the living conditions of teachers in remote areas, the local governments have even built accommodation specifically for rural teaching staff.

With the rapid pace of urbanization in China, we should expect more funds, more benefits and more facilities to go into supporting teachers in the countryside. It needs to become a respectable job so that more young people are encouraged to choose it as a career.