China will adopt policies freeing primary and middle school teachers from unnecessary administrative work, Minister of Education Chen Baosheng said at the 2019 National Education Work Conference earlier this month in Beijing.
On top of classroom instruction and research, many teachers also have to spend a lot of time filling out forms, participating in competitions and handling school evaluations, all of which leaves them exhausted, Chen said.
One of the ministry’s priorities this year is to reduce administrative work and give teachers time to improve their skills, Chen said.
The ministry will introduce policies to reduce the administrative workload of primary and middle school teachers and will conduct a thorough inspection of all the tasks they are required to do. Unnecessary tasks will be eliminated, he said.
Meanwhile, he stressed that ethics will be an indispensable component of all teachers’ evaluations for promotions or awards. Teachers who violate ethical standards will not be eligible for higher academic titles.
Ethical teaching is of utmost importance, and those with serious violations will be banned from classrooms, Chen said.
Cui Shifeng, principal of Hefei Hupo Mingcheng Primary School in Anhui province, said it’s necessary to reduce the administrative work for teachers, as they are often busy handling various inspections and filling out forms.
Schools should adopt digital management platforms and share basic information across different levels so that teachers can avoid repetitive work, he said.
“The main task for teachers is to teach students, not to help schools win some useless awards,” he said.
Gu Mingyuan, former president of the Chinese Education Society, said teachers should have higher ethical standards than ordinary people, and those who are unethical should not teach.
Gu said most teachers in China are dedicated, hardworking professionals and models for their students, and they have made great contributions to the country’s development and cultivation of talent.
“The government should work hard to get rid of those rotten apples that spoil the whole barrel,” he said.