Lo­cal loy­alty proves key to teacher re­cruit­ment

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HOULIQIANG and YANG JUN

Many of the 2,005 moun­tain vil­lage kinder­gartens in Ton­gren city, Guizhou prov­ince, are lo­cated in re­mote ar­eas, which means it’s dif­fi­cult to re­cruit and hold onto qual­i­fied teach­ers for 2,000 yuan ($297) a month. In re­sponse, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment has de­vised an in­cen­tive mech­a­nism to at­tract ta­lent and en­sure qual­ity preschool teach­ing.

Of­fi­cial kinder­gartens in towns or town­ships with ju­ris­dic­tion over fa­cil­i­ties in moun­tain vil­lages are re­spon­si­ble for of­fer­ing guid­ance, so they reg­u­larly send teach­ers to re­mote ar­eas to of­fer ad­vice on teach­ing prac­tice, said Long Li­hong, di­rec­tor of the Ton­gren City Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion.

For two and a half years, Su Shu­lan, a teacher at the Gaoloup­ing Town­ship Kinder­garten, has also been acting as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of a kinder­garten in Muzip­ing vil­lage. She helps the teacher to draft tu­ition plans and pro­vide themes that are re­flected in pho­tos, draw­ings and other items pinned to the class­room walls.

“The theme this month is au­tumn. We have pro­vided an au­tumn-themed wall for the chil­dren’s art­works made from fallen leaves, and also guide the kids to draw pic­tures about au­tumn and play related games,” the 26-year-old said.

Ad­vi­sors such as Su also re­place teach­ers in re­mote lo­ca­tions if they need to take a va­ca­tion or sick­ness leave.

Teach­ers at moun­tain vil­lage kinder­gartens en­joy pref­er­en­tial poli­cies if they want to take ex­ams to win a life con­tract with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, Long said.

One prin­ci­ple un­der­pin­ning the pro­ject is build­ing kinder­gartens near the chil­dren’s home. Many teach­ers are re­cruited lo­cally as well, so they will feel set­tled in their work­place.

Liu Fen, 26, worked in a pri­vate kinder­garten in down­town Ton­gren be­fore she ap­plied to teach at a kinder­garten in a moun­tain vil­lage. “There is no big dif­fer­ence in salary, but now I work close to my home. Be­fore, I could only go home once a week, but now I can go back every­day ,” she said.

In ad­di­tion to a teacher, al­most all moun­tain kinder­gartens em­ploy a childc are worker, who earns 1,600 yuan a month, and is re­spon­si­ble for san­i­ta­tion, in­clud­ing clean­ing the class­room and ster­il­iz­ing the chil­dren’s table­ware.

Teacher Su Shu­lan, 26, talks with chil­dren af­ter their noon nap at the Muzip­ing Vil­lage Kinder­garten.

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