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Government will Close Income Gap Among Teachers

The central government is working to close the income gap between urban and rural teachers to encourage them to work in the countryside, said an education official yesterday in Beijing.

"Under a planned new wage system, teachers, whether in cities, countryside or towns, will share the same basic income as long as they are at the same professional rank," Lu Yugang, vice director of the personnel department of the Ministry of Education, said during an online interview at

The Communist Party of China and the central government pays great attention to teachers' wages and has issued a series of policies to raise incomes, Lu said.

The Compulsory Education Law, which took effect last September, stipulates the average wage for teachers should not be lower than civil servants.

Teachers' wages generally comprise two parts: "basic income" and "structural income," which varies according to rank, school and region.

Gao Weiwei, a math teacher at a Beijing middle school, told Xinhua that her "basic income" was about 600 yuan (US$79) per month, which was the same as Wang Cuixiang, a rural teacher in Shanxi Province.

But Gao said she could earn about 4,000 yuan per month, whereas Wang only earned a 1,700 yuan, showing a gap in "structural income."

Even so, Wang, the rural teacher, earns more than her relatives and friends in Shanxi, a major coal production base. "Teachers are generally well paid and earn respect," she said.

"Overall teachers' incomes across the country have seen a 10 percent increase," Lu said, adding that college graduates who teach in the countryside could get a boost in wages.

Lu said teachers in remote areas could get subsidies.

"The present income gap between rural and urban teachers is due to different allowance standards for teachers in different places," he said.

The government should also guarantee the living and working conditions for teachers, said Song Yonggang, vice director of the ministry's normal education department.

(Shanghai Daily September 12, 2007)

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