Plan to boost qualifications of teachers
China plans to raise the threshold for teachers' academic backgrounds to improve the quality of education, according to a draft amendment released by the Ministry of Education on Monday.
Public feedback on the draft amendment of the Teacher's Law is being sought until Dec 20.
The draft says kindergarten teachers should at least obtain degrees from higher vocational schools, rather than the secondary vocational school requirement of the current law, which came into effect in 1994.
The draft would also raise academic requirements for primary school teachers from secondary vocational school degrees to bachelor's degrees.
For middle school teachers, the requirement would be raised from higher vocational school degrees to bachelor's degrees.
The academic requirement for teachers at higher education institutions would be raised to master's degrees from bachelor's degrees.
The amendment would also require county-level education authorities to arrange a rotation of teachers at compulsory education schools to ensure balanced educational development.
It would also set up an entry blacklist for teachers, whereby people who have received administrative or criminal punishment for behaviors that might harm students, such as sexual assault, abuse, abduction, drug use and prostitution, should not become teachers, and those with serious alcohol addiction, and mental illness would also be banned.
Other provisions say teachers should not make public comments that violate the country's Constitution or harm the reputation of the Communist Party of China or the nation. They should not exploit their position to seek profits, coerce or induce students to take paid tutoring from them, or engage in sexual relationships with students.
Teachers who engage in such behavior should be fired and have their teaching credentials revoked, and they would be barred from applying for teaching credentials for five years, the draft said, adding those with serious violations should be banned from teaching for life.
In a report delivered to October's session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, Education Minister Huai Jinpeng said the academic background of teachers had improved significantly over the years.
For example, in 1993, only 0.18 percent of primary school teachers had bachelor's degrees or above, whereas 66 percent had such degrees last year. The percentage of university teachers with doctoral degrees grew from 1.7 percent to 27.7 percent during the same period, he said.
However, there is still much room for improvement in teachers' academic backgrounds in order to build a high-quality education system, he said, adding that less than 4 percent of kindergarten, primary and secondary school teachers have master's degrees.
Some universities have not taken a firm stand against teachers' violations of work ethics, and a handful of university teachers have made inappropriate public comments, Huai said.
There have also been cases of primary and secondary school teachers working part-time at tutoring institutions or using corporal punishment on students, and kindergarten teachers abusing pupils. These violations have damaged the overall reputation of teachers, he said.
The ministry released a code of conduct for teachers at all levels in 2018, and 121 teachers have had their teaching credentials revoked for work ethics violations and another 952 have been banned from teaching for life for legal violations, he said, stressing that work ethics is the most important criterion in teacher evaluations.
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