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Teaching Profession Favored in China

At long last, Chinese teachers say, their profession is getting its due: education is becoming a more popular vocation, teachers get better pay than ever, and society respects them.

After two decades of working on the problem, governments at all levels have succeeded in boosting teachers' social status and raising their pay.

According to official statistics, the average annual income and housing conditions for teachers is higher than average for other professions in China.

But before 1984, teachers were widely underpaid and overworked, and snubbed by the public.

The central government has raised the salary for teachers several times since then, and teachers were granted a special allowance for housing and preferential treatment for medical care and pensions.

The governments also invested heavily in housing projects specially for teachers.

The average living space for teachers in urban China in 1998 was 8.74 square meters, more than the average level of all urban residents.

In most provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, teachers are beginning to enjoy the same treatment extended to civil servants in terms of inexpensive medical care.

According to the Law on Teachers issued in 1993, most provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions raised the retirement pension for teachers.

The brain drain facing the country's primary and middle schools has taken a turn for the better during the past few years as a result of the governmental intervention.

Many graduates from non-teachers' colleges, for example, began to compete with those from normal universities for teaching jobs, a rare occurrence in China.


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