Citizen-managed Teachers: Their Past and Future

villiage school For most students like us, who were born and grew up in a city, participating state-owned schools, from kindergarten, primary school to middle school and university, it is hard for us to imagine the ‘citizen-managed’ teachers. The only impression for me is from the documentary films. But a recent notice on the future of these teacher bring such persons into our sight. It is the headlines of the journals and newspapers bring us the opportunity to take a consideration of all these teachers. Prior to the start of this article, I do wish all these teachers everything goes well. They have devote too much to the development of the education in China.

  1. Citizen-managed Teachers and Their Past

    Citizen-managed teachers, a special group of teachers that is widely seen in rural regions of China, forms a significant portion of the teachers in less developed regions of China. Unlike the teachers who are holding an official certification from the Ministry of Education, these teachers are taking their teaching positions in quite weak conditions, and are awarded quite little salary, which is about 1/4 to the certificated teachers, though their responsibilities on teaching and their loyalty on students are identical. The asymmetric role on their output and input is an essential feature for these teachers.

    The citizen-managed teachers are rendered due to the demands from the comparatively weak economic conditions in some regions. Due to the schools in China are mainly state-owned, the salary for the teachers, especially those for primary and middle school, are from the government. The salary for the teachers is an important portion for the expense on education in annual budget for the government, both the central and locals. For those regions that can hardly support this salary in their budgets, citizen-managed teachers are employed. Their salary are mainly paid by the local village and the school they are working for directly.

    For decades, the poor situation for these teachers are focused, and numerous films, documentaries and reports were published. With the concern of the financial constraints that are frequently suffered in those regions that the citizen-managed teachers are mainly distributed, these teachers may suffer from low payment for their salary, and they may not receive the medical insurance and pension plan from the government. For them, they have devoted too much to the education career.

  2. The Contributions of the Citizen-managed Teachers to the Education in China

    Though the development of the Chinese economy since the Open Door Policy from 1979 has promoted the civilization process of major cities in China, and the population living in metropolis and medium cities has been rapidly increased, the population of the rural regions is still dominant. The statistical showed that the amount of citizen-managed teachers was to be over 4.8 million in 1977 and this number was reduced in the near decades but it is still a large number due to the financial conditions.

    In fact, these teachers has taught quite a lot of students, and they offered the children in remote rural regions an opportunity for their knowledge. Those we can easily find fully equipped schools in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, where students are enjoying good education quality and excellent instruments, the conditions in rural regions are still limited, especially for the primary schools. One of my classmate used to tell me that his primary school was set by his resident village, which is located in a local temple. And there is only one teacher, who teaches all the grades and subjects, including Chinese, Moths, Music and Sports. It is such teachers that promoted the development of the education and indefinitely, the development of the country, on various realms, including science, technology and economy.

  3. The Mandatory Termination for Citizen-managed Teachers: Possible Reasons 

    A recent announcement from the Ministry of Education showed that the citizen-managed teachers would have to be terminated mandatorily if they are not able to transfer their identity to a qualified teachers in time. This transfer would consist of a series of exams for courses on pedagogy and an integrated investigation on their teaching performance. The exams sounds likely to be simple but difficult for those teachers since they seldom receive formal training for such courses. In fact, in my opinion, a mandatory termination for such teachers may not that stable. But I suppose this announcement may involve two following governmental considerations.

    1. Consideration on Improvement of Education Quality

      Frankly, the limited educational background fro most citizen-managed teachers can prevent them from improving the education quality. A statistics on these teachers shows that great partition of them are holding a high school diploma or equivalent. Though they may not face difficulty when teaching in a primary school, the enlightens on the students for broadening their horizon is a problem. In fact, the education quality on knowledge itself is undoubtedly important since it would perform a fundamental role in a student’s further study, the horizon should not be overlooked. And the termination may based on this consideration, since qualified teacher should know more besides teaching itself, ideally assumed.

    2. Consideration on Employment for Newly Graduated Students

      This consideration sounds more or less out of morality though it is comprehensive. For years, the employment of newly graduated college students has been a social difficulty. And such problem is more severe in normal schools. Since the unique institutional background that the teachers in most public schools are supported by the government, the total amount is more or less fixed. Such situation made the employment for students from normal schools a great trouble. I have ever studied in Department of Mathematics in a normal school, I clearly understand its difficulty. My friends are working in various teaching positions, ranging from teachers in kindergarten to high school.

      Such difficulty on employment markets drive me to this direction. Terminating the citizen-managed teachers can provide more vacancies for these students. It sounds quite rational. Such solution can both reduce the difficulty of employment for college students and improve the education quality. But the question is, shall the graduates be willing to go to the rural regions for their career?

  4. What Can They Do in Future?

    For those teachers that are facing mandatory termination, it is obviously a tragedy. Since such termination mean they would have to transfer themselves to another industry. The process for such transfer can be difficult, especially when they are getting old, and they have devoted nearly all their best ages to their students. For younger teachers, who are in his/her 20s or 30s, taking some training, or obtaining a higher diploma would be a good idea. More directly, they can make full efforts on exams, pursuing to be a qualified teacher. While for the old ones, their lives may be a problem. They would be returned to the lives like their predecessors, leading their lives on the plants. I don’t know whether they should thank the government for such a release or not.

    I don’t know why the governmental decision is always so arbitrary, from the Internet constraints, the controlling on the property market, to this termination for citizen-managed teachers. I suppose only when the government can fully make their decisions according to the wealth economics, the China can really be a developed country!

PS:Writing a structured blog is really a tiring job, but it does improve the readability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.