10,000 teachers to be sent to Xinjiang, Tibet

Move will improve local education, alleviate shortage of resources

China's decision to dispatch 10,000 teachers to the Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions to support local education could help solve the educational problems and improve local education in the regions, experts said.

About 1,500 teachers from inland provinces are currently working in Xinjiang and Tibet and another batch of 4,000 teachers will be selected and sent to the regions soon, according to a meeting held in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China has made huge efforts to improve education in Xinjiang and Tibet during the past decades, including sending teachers to the region to boost bilingual education. In Xinjiang alone, 78 percent of students in primary and middle schools receive bilingual education with the support from teachers from other cities.

A teacher surnamed Zhang, who taught in Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang in 2014-15, told the Global Times that some students of ethnic minority groups have difficulty in understanding the lectures he gave partly due to language barrier.

"The bilingual education, which has been conducted for 11 years in the regions, has made remarkable progress, but problems still exist," Turgunjan Tursun, a professor with the Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times.

"The main existing problem is the lack of eligible bilingual teachers in the regions," said Tursun.

Recognizing the program as beneficial to local people, Minister of Education Chen Baosheng demanded strict standards in selecting teachers at the Thursday meeting.

"It is the first time that such a large number of teachers from all over the country will be sent to teach in the regions, which shows that the authorities are paying more attention to the issue," said Tursun.

"Bilingual education in the regions is quite necessary as it helps students of different ethnic groups communicate with each other, just like people in other provinces are required to learn Chinese even though they have their own dialects," said Zhang.

"Meanwhile, young students, who are not mature enough, tend to be easily manipulated by extremists to join in terrorist activities and even the jihad, while bilingual education would help them access information to understand the nature of terrorism," added Zhang.

Except for the bilingual education, Tursun also mentioned the improvement of incentive mechanism for teachers and the importance of differentiated policies in different regions.

According to Zhang, some volunteer teachers had felt little bit disappointed because the working environment is very different from where they used to work.

Concerning the difficulties, many regions, including Shanghai, have promised preferential treatment to such volunteer teachers, such as priorities in promotions and higher salaries.

"A more complete incentive mechanism should be established to encourage more teachers to contribute to the local education development," said Tursun.