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September 10th was designated Teachers' Day in 1985, the first festival day to honor any profession and indicative of government efforts to raise the social status and living standards of teachers.

To improve the quality of teaching, the government has started the Nationwide Program of Network for Education of Teachers. Its aims are: to modernize teacher education through educational information; to provide support and services for lifelong learning through the teachers' education network, TV satellite network, and the Internet; and to improve the teaching quality of elementary and high school faculty through large-scale, high-quality and high-efficiency training and continuing education.

As required by state law, all parts of China are implementing teacher qualification systems and promoting in-service training for 1 million school principals, so as to further improve school management standards. Currently, in schools of higher learning, professors account for 9.5 percent of total faculty and assistant professors for 30 percent; young and middle-aged teachers predominate, teachers under age 45 accounting for about 80 percent. Teachers in higher education constitute a vital contingent in scientific research, knowledge innovation and sci-tech. Of all academicians in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 40.7 percent (280) are working in schools of higher learning; for the Chinese Academy of Engineering the corresponding figures is 33.2 percent (234).

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