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China to hire more college grads as rural teachers
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The Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Monday it would recruit 30,000 college students as rural teachers next year, a move intended to ease employment pressure in China amid the global financial downturn.

The 2009 figure would be nearly equal to the total quotas for 2006 and 2007, which were 16,000 and 17,000, respectively, the ministry said.

The move is part of a larger drive by the MOE that aims to channel next year's estimated 6.11 million college graduates into jobs that need filling in the country's remote, less-developed west.

Other plans to help new grads included raising the number of places in full-time postgraduate or second-degree programs, which are choices for many Chinese college students who want to postpone job-hunting amid what is likely to be increasingly stiff competition.

The MOE also encouraged students to join the military, saying that those who did would have a chance to study in army-affiliated institutes and get quick promotions.

China introduced a plan to send college graduates to rural schools as teachers in 2006, and it is set to employ 100,000 grads in villages over five years starting in 2008.

China has also offered government help in paying educational loans and fees for those willing to serve in the west, as well as support for post-graduate degrees.

Huge numbers of students graduate from China's colleges each year and their success in finding jobs varies.

MOE figures show about 700,000 to 800,000 grads didn't find jobs in 2007, meaning that more than 6 million degree-holders were seeking jobs this year.

The job search for grads could become even more difficult as the global financial crisis has begun to take its toll on the world's fourth-largest economy.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2008)

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