10-Year Teaching Experience: a Mandatory Service?
Comments on the story "Is Free Teacher Education Worth 10 Years in Rural China?" published on No. 27 July 5, 2007
The curtain has dropped on 2007's national college entrance exam. Many high-school graduates now face the dilemma of choosing their colleges and majors. From this year on, students will have the opportunity to receive free education in universities subordinated to the national Ministry of Education. But in accordance with the new policy, apart from having to score at a certain level, normal universities' students are also required, after graduating, to return to the provinces where they came from and take on teaching jobs for at least 10 years. Many people argue that the 10-year teaching experience is a mandatory service, a claim that is disputable. However, analyzing the aim of the new policy, I think these requirements are necessary and have their realistic significance.
People's arguments against this policy usually fall into two categories. First, regarding the freedom to choose a profession, they think the policy binds them to teaching. Actually, their decision to become teachers has already been made before they enter university. After making this choice, students receiving free education should not recant and decide to give up their major. So the mandatory service does not really exist; it is only a necessary condition of the policy.
Secondly, there are always a few people who will avail of the loopholes of free education. Four years' free college education, financial aid, and a bright future after graduating, are always going to be attractive options.
Nevertheless, in order to guarantee the utilization of national teaching resources, a 10 years' teaching career is a necessary requirement for these unconscientious people. In my opinion, the policy has its realistic significance. For students in pursuit of a teaching career, this policy is only an introductory one, but for all those who're still hesitant about what career to pursue, it may be a instructive one. All in all, the 10 years' service is an indispensable follow-up to free education.
JULE 10, 2007