Kash­gar looks to lift teach­ers’ skills

China Daily (Canada) - - XINJIANG - By CHEN HONG in Kash­gar, Xin­jiang

Zhong Li, a mid­dle school prin­ci­pal from Shen­zhen, was as­ton­ished to find that only 15 per­cent of stu­dents she tested in Kash­gar could pass the math test for their level.

Zhong ar­rived at Kash­gar, Xin­jiang Uyghur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, in Fe­bru­ary to help im­prove the re­gion’s ed­u­ca­tional per­for­mance.

Com­mis­sioned by the city ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment, she led a work­ing team to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the 83 ru­ral pri­mary schools in Kash­gar and two ur­ban pri­mary schools from April 15 through June 20.

The team gave third-grade stu­dents a five-minute test to un­der­stand their over­all math abil­ity. Of 2,842 stu­dents who took the test, 2,413 failed, Zhong said.

Even more sur­pris­ing was that she found some teach­ers sam­pled knew less than the stu­dents.

“I was cu­ri­ous about what was hap­pen­ing with math teach­ing, but after I got the re­sults of Chi­nese-lan­guage tests from sixth-grade stu­dents, I fig­ured out the prob­lem,” Zhong said.

Nearly 70 per­cent of the stu­dents could not un­der­stand the re­quire­ments of the ques­tions, nor could they in­tro­duce them­selves in Chi­nese.

“Their poor Chi­nese abil­ity would ob­vi­ously af­fect their com­pre­hen­sion of the math ques­tions,” she said.

Two meth­ods are used in the re­gion’s bilin­gual teach­ing, us­ing the Chi­nese and Uyghur lan­guages. Method one re­quires the teach­ing of Chi­nese, math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in Chi­nese, with all other classes in the Uyghur lan­guage; while method two re­quires all cour­ses be taught in Chi­nese, ex­cept for an Uyghur-lan­guage class.

About 92.5 per­cent of schools in the area chose the first method, but the in­spec­tors found that even in Chi­nese class, the teach­ers spoke Uyghur for half the class.

“Some of the Uyghur teach­ers are not qual­i­fied to teach Chi­nese, and need fur­ther train­ing, or they can’t sat­isfy the stu­dents’ strong de­sire to com­mu­ni­cate in Chi­nese,” Zhong said.

Apart from mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate with out­siders, Zhong said that a good grasp of Chi­nese could help stu­dents learn pro­fes­sional skills and find jobs more eas­ily.

Zhong sug­gested the au­thor­ity strengthen its cen­tral­ized train­ing, in-school train­ing and In­ter­net train­ing to im­prove the qual­ity of bilin­gual teach­ers.

She also ad­vised the gov­ern­ment set up a spe­cial sub­sidy to train bilin­gual teach­ers.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Pupils are taught Man­darin through mul­ti­me­dia soft­ware in a pri­mary school in Kash­gar, which is look­ing to raise its teach­ing level with the support of teach­ers from Shen­zhen.

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