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Ivy League not gold standard for teachers

By Xiong Bingqi (Global Times)

13:17, July 19, 2012

There are recent reports saying that when recruiting teachers, some universities in China no longer accept local Chinese PhDs. Instead, they only choose PhDs from top US universities. On the face of it, emphasizing teachers' educational background is aimed at improving the quality of teaching. Actually, however, the act represents blatant discrimination, demonstrating that Chinese universities remain backward in talent evaluation and selection.

Emphasizing teachers' overseas educational background means that universities do not value their teaching capability first, but are just looking for polished CVs. Universities always enjoy specifying how many teachers are graduates of overseas universities and how many of them hold PhD degrees. It is easy to see what they value most.

This is a coarse method. If universities recruit teachers using such standards, then it is unnecessary to conduct other examinations. All they have to do is to look at people's degrees.

These standards not only create unfair competition, but will intensify people's obsession with getting into elite colleges. When students know that their chance of getting a job in the future largely depends on their education background, they might choose to retake the gaokao (national college entrance examination) in order to get into an elite university. The result is that the issue of test-oriented education in China will become worse.

Emphasizing overseas educational background is also related to misunderstandings of the internationalization of higher education. We can't equate people with overseas educational background with international talent.

The internationalization of higher education is first reflected in the building of institutions. A university has to have modern education institutions that are integrated with the rest of the world. Schools also need a diverse teacher and student body. Chinese universities are short of such modern educational concepts as they recruit teachers according to a single standard and favor students from big cities.

To reverse the situation, China should further promote the reform of higher education and seek to build modern university institutions, under which there should be special commissions responsible for recruitment. Then it will be hard for college leaders to select teachers and students according to their personal preferences.

Also we should strictly implement the Employment Promotion Law. The government's labor and personnel department should investigate any case of educational discrimination.

The author is vice president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.

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