Universities to Improve Standard of Teaching

Unqualified teachers in universities will be laid off as China steps up its efforts to improve the quality of higher education, top education officials said over the weekend in Beijing.

The Ministry of Education has urged universities and colleges to make more efforts to regularly check the achievements of their teachers and to fire those who do not come up to scratch.

"Bad teachers will be replaced by excellent ones, judged not by their age but by the results of their teaching," said Zhong Binlin, director of the Higher Education Department of the ministry.

Teachers in universities could not be fired before the early 1990s, when the higher education system was reformed.

Since then, a number of teachers have been dismissed by their employers.

The reforms focus on educating more high-quality students who can meet the various demands facing them in this rapidly developing world, Zhong said.

Adequate teachers with a great deal of initiative and creativity are vital to such a task and will be given more encouragement and rewards in the future, Zhong stressed.

Well-known professors are being called upon to give lessons to undergraduate students and teach basic courses, according to Guan Peijun, vice-director of the Department of Personnel of the ministry.

In the contracts signed between universities and professors, it must be made clear what the professor's tasks are.

Young and middle-aged teachers are encouraged to do more teaching, compile new textbooks and study new developments, Guan said.

The ministry issued the list of 100 winners of the "National Young University Teachers Prize" for the year 2000 yesterday.

Every winner will receive an annual bonus of between 50,000 yuan (US$6,000) to 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) every year for five years.

The ministry initiated the yearly prize in 1999. It is only one of the many prizes given to encourage teachers to do their jobs better.

Presently, teachers under the age of 45 make up nearly 80 per cent of the total of 463,000 in China's colleges and universities.

Professors and associate professors under 45 make up 26 per cent and 60 per cent of the total respectively, official statistics said.

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