Press conference on China's achievements in education reform and development since the 18th CPC National Congress

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Tomorrow is Teachers' Day. Teachers are fundamental to education. Mr. Huai, what major progress was made in building the teacher force in the past 10 years? Thank you.

Huai Jinpeng:

Thank you for your question. I am willing to answer this question since I was once a teacher for more than 20 years. 

Teachers are fundamental to education, which determines the future. Nurturing talents is to foster China's innovative ability. Excellent teachers underpin high-quality education. I would like to introduce the progress made in education personnel in the past decade in the following aspects.

Let me cite statistics first. The total number of full-time teachers at all educational levels in China reached 18.44 million by 2021, up 26% from 14.62 million in 2012. The past decade has seen an increased number of teachers as well as an improvement in the quality and structure of teachers, which has provided a solid guarantee for modernizing education, building China into a country with strong education, and delivering education that satisfies people's needs. 

We credit tremendous changes in education to the great importance that the Party and the country has attached to the teaching workforce since the 18th CPC National Congress. General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a number of important instructions, delivered important speeches, and extended Teachers' Day greetings to teachers each year in different ways. His important discourse about teachers improved the status and role of teachers' work to an unprecedented level so that teachers can be more confident and achieve more self-improvement. This discourse also served as a fundamental reference for building a strong teaching workforce in the new era. The discourse included four requirements for good teachers, four aspects that teachers should guide students, four relationships that teachers should balance in education, and what makes a great educator. The MOE has implemented measures and pressed ahead in this regard, which can be summarized into three aspects, namely respecting teachers, strengthening the teaching workforce, and benefiting teachers.

First, society respects teachers more. Respecting teachers and valuing education is a fine tradition of Chinese culture, which requires society to appreciate, understand, and support teachers. We have built and improved a system to commend, award, select, and publicize exemplary teachers by granting titles such as "People's Educator," "Models of the Times," "National Model of Teaching and Educating," "the Most Beautiful Teachers," and national model teachers and excellent teachers awards, such as the National Teaching Achievement Award. The system embodies an important function in serving teachers and boosting their spirits. We actively publicized major exemplary teachers, such as Yu Yi, Wei Xinghua, Gao Mingxuan, and Zhang Guimei, as well as a large group of excellent teachers working at schools. We celebrated Teachers' Day and fostered a fine atmosphere in society to respect teachers and value education. Meanwhile, guided by the principle that teachers should be given both strict supervision and profound love, we rolled out professional codes and increased teachers' self-discipline. Giving top priority to teachers' ethics and conduct, we released a series of documents, including 10-point codes of conduct for teachers to enhance teachers' ideological and political awareness. We also established a system for enhancing teachers' ethics in a bid to standardize teachers' ethics and manage institutions through law-based governance. 

Second, more concrete measures have been taken to strengthen the teaching workforce. We have established a system with Chinese characteristics for cultivating and training teachers to improve their caliber and abilities. An open and flexible paradigm for training teachers has been formed, with normal universities as the mainstay and the participation of comprehensive universities. Normal universities affiliated with the MOE have enrolled 85,000 students supported by public funds in the past 10 years, and 90% of them taught in China's central and western provinces after graduation. We have launched a targeted training plan to nurture excellent teachers for underdeveloped regions in central and western China. More than 10,000 normal college students receive targeted training annually to teach in 832 counties, helping to reduce poverty in central and western China. The National Training Program has trained more than 18 million teachers in the past 12-plus years. We established an education assistance project, via which over 220,000 teachers aided education in schools in central and western regions. We stepped up efforts to increase teachers' digital literacy and teaching competence and sped up the construction of a digitalized education platform for teachers and a national information system for teacher management so that new technologies could facilitate the teaching workforce.

Third, policies benefit teachers more. We have intensified efforts to ensure that teachers can devote their time to teaching. We have established and improved a long-term mechanism to ensure the wages and benefits of compulsory education teachers and a mechanism to ensure their wages and benefits should be adjusted to those of local public servants. Currently, all regions have implemented policies to ensure that compulsory education teachers' average wages should be no less than those of local public servants. We strived to ensure teachers' living conditions. In the past 10 years since the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the central government invested more than 26 billion yuan in building 600,000 sets of rural dormitories in remote and poor areas, which provided accommodation to over 830,000 teachers. 

To promote our country, we must strengthen education and build a strong teaching workforce. Taking building the teaching workforce as our basic work, we will continue to promote the cultivation of professional and innovative education personnel of a high caliber. 

Thank you for your concern about teachers, who serve as the most crucial and fundamental power for developing education. Thank you.

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