The State Council on Aug 24 approved recommendations on how to improve and promote free education for students at normal universities directly under the Ministry of Education, in a bid to cultivate a large number of good teachers for primary and secondary schools.
The Ministry of Education should come up with an overall plan for six affiliated normal universities to enroll students free of charge, and increase the quota for some universities to recruit students independently — but no more than 10 percent of the total enrollment in one year, according to the document.
Students who receive free education are obligated to engage in primary and secondary school education for at least 10 years after graduation. Those who are willing to work in urban schools should first put in at least two years in rural compulsory education schools.
Tuition and accommodations will be offered, with living subsidies as well. Additional scholarships are provided for students who excel at universities. Besides, governments at all levels and society at large are encouraged to set up special scholarships for the students, according to the document.
Pilot projects should be carried out in selected counties to develop new cultivation models for the future teachers. Students are urged to take one-term internships at pilot local schools ahead of graduation, where they can get more access to courses from experienced teachers.
According to the circular, students who received the free college education can choose their own employers upon graduation via open recruitment. Meanwhile, eligible graduates are able to pursue on-the-job master’s degrees in teaching without taking an entrance exam.
The free education program will be gradually promoted around the country, according to the document, aimed at nurturing a large number of qualified teachers for kindergartens and schools in rural areas. Local authorities are also encouraged to explore various approaches to implement free education.