One of the difficulties in improving the quality of rural education is in finding and retaining qualified teachers.
Even though education is supposed to be free in rural schools, some parents are still deterred by the high incidental expenses of sending their children to school.
Some of the expenses include the cost of transportation, the cost of textbooks, and even the cost of heating the classrooms in the cold winter months.
The central government pays the bulk of teachers’ salaries, but the comparatively low salaries have been a deterrent for many.
A rural school teacher, Hou Yinghua, said: ‘Most of us earn about 1000 RMB. This is hardly attractive, so many choose to work in the cities.’
The government has put in place a scheme to encourage young volunteers, especially new college graduates, to teach in rural schools. It has also implemented a rotating system for city teachers to train their rural counterparts.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said that teaching is the most splendid profession under the sun. But to attract more people to this splendid profession, higher pay and more professional support is urgently needed.
Source: Channel News Asia