|Zhi Yueying, a rural teacher, gives a Chinese lesson to students at a primary school in Baiyang, Fengxin county, in Jiangxi province. [China Daily]|
Beijing's city government has pledged to continue to improve the quality of teachers at countryside schools, as well as boost their incomes, to provide equal education opportunities to urban and rural students.
The capital will offer incentives to encourage teachers to stay in rural areas, Li Yi, deputy director of the Beijing Education Commission, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The city began encouraging normal schools to increase enrollment of students majoring in teaching last year.
Meanwhile, authorities have promised to give 40,000 yuan ($6,100) to each rural teacher who graduates from a normal school or comprehensive college with a nonteaching major and who has been working in a rural area for five successive years.
In addition, each teacher will receive a monthly allowance of between 1,400 and 4,000 yuan, depending on the distance of their work from the center city.
By Nov 6, 17,489 rural teachers in 383 schools had received the allowance.
Li said the government is also discussing the provision of low-cost rental housing for rural teachers.
Beijing has allocated 20 percent more financial support to the training of rural teachers compared with urban-based teachers.
Rural teachers who go to urban schools for training will receive 530 yuan per person each time.
Xu Guowen, the principal of a primary school in Miyun district, who has been working in rural schools for 23 years, said he has experienced the development of education in villages.
"It was hard to keep rural teachers because of many practical reasons, including long-distance transportation, taking care of families in faraway places, and individual career development," Xu said. "The turnover of rural teachers resulted in a low quality of education for students."
He said the new policies have given financial support and housing subsidies to rural teachers, as well as many training projects, which have given rural teachers more confidence.
Cui Haiming, a physical education teacher in Huairou district, has been working in rural schools for 28 years.
In 2013, he started working in a primary school in a remote mountain area as a volunteer, he said at the news conference. When the voluntary period came to an end, he decided to stay.
He said the district government has helped equip the school with new sports facilities, which has improved teaching conditions.
"My salary was 5,000 yuan a month in 2014. As the subsidies have been implemented, I now get about 10,000 yuan a month, which has improved my living conditions," Cui said. He said he will stay at the rural school until retirement.
(Source: China Daily)