violence against childrenTeachers at a kindergarten in Lihua, Jiangsu have a big problem lately with five year old student Yangyang. One morning in December of last year, Yangyang was found by cleaning staff in the bathroom playing with a lighter. The staff member confiscated the lighter immediately. When asked about the incident, Yangyang claimed he brought the lighter from home. Just a few days later in an arts and crafts class, a teacher was shocked to find Yangyang trying to cut his fingers with a scissors, and confiscated the scissors immediately. Since this incident, Yangyang received extra attention from teachers, explained the head of the school. When Yangyang’s class had fun activities, the teachers always considered beforehand what the activities were, and whether the could cause any danger. After several months, Yangyang’s dangerous behaviors still did not stop, however, aside from these dangerous actions, there were no problems with Yangyang’s interactions with other students. He was a smart, fun-loving, and curious child. So what was actually going on with him?

The kindergarten contacted Yangyang’s parents. The family came from Anhui province, with the parents finding migrant labor in Changzhou. They were usually very busy. When Yangyang’s father first heard the news, he just shook his head and said that he was very good at home. When the teachers explained the situation several more times, the father said that the school was discriminating against the children of migrant workers. Without any other options, Yangyang’s teacher invited the parents to observe the child’s behavior in class, and only after several days of this that the parents believed the teachers. The father explained that because he works hard, in the rare case that Yangyang misbehaves at home, he hits him with a leather belt and slippers until he listens. It’s been a long time since Yangyang misbehaved at home, where he’s actually very good, but Yangyang isn’t afraid of acting out at school, “because the teachers won’t hit me.” The school invited Yangyang’s parents to talk every time he misbehaved, but his father found the situation embarrassing, and would not cooperate. With no other choice, the school asked the parents to pat down Yangyang’s bag every morning before he left for school. The teacher would pat down the bag again once Yangyang got to school, making sure that he didn’t bring any dangerous items to class.

Yangyang’s situation put teachers in a hard place, and they had to look to other kindergartens for help. After discussing the situations, they found there were such students at other schools that the schools called “special children.” What should be done with “special children”? Should they get psychological counseling?

“They don’t need psychological counseling. The children don’t have any psychological problems since the psychology of children from the ages of 0 to 6 years old has still yet to develop,” said  Zhu Jian, Director General of the Changzhou city Psychological Association. He feels that Yangyang’s father should not avoid communicating with the school because of embarrassment. Since it’s the father’s problem, he should definitely care more about the child’s safety than his own reputation. According to Zhu Jian’s analysis, the child felt wronged when the father hit him, and needed way to channel his anger. “Some children hit others at kindergarten, but Yangyang took it out on himself.” Mr. Zhu said that changing Yangyang’s behavior needs to start at the root, and only after his father changes his violent disciplinary methods, will the child change. “Yangyang isn’t six years old yet, there’s still time to change things.”


Original date of publication: 4/22/2013


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With the number of students entering elementary schools increasing by the tens of thousands every year in Beijing, the city will see its highest number of new ever in 2014. In order to deal with this spike, Beijing kindergartens, elementary schools, and middle schools will all be expanding both the number of classes as well as the size of campuses. Yesterday, administrators from several schools explained that the biggest bottle neck in these expansions is the number of qualified teachers.


Are Teacher Age Restrictions Causing Problems?

Because of various factors like a spike in birth rates, Beijing will see a serious increase in the number of elementary school students over the next several years. During the expected spike in 2014, the number of new students will exceed 180 thousand (it presently stands at 110 thousand). The Beijing Education Commission has been preparing for this spice since 2011, investing large sums in the building of kindergartens for their  Pre-Education Three Year Action Plan. In 2012, the city Education Commission also announced and set up an Elementary and Secondary School Three-Year Action Plan.

According to Beijing #171 Middle School principal Chen Aiyu, both the school and the associated kindergarten are expanding the administration to mitigate new student difficulties. Chen feels that some well-rounded college graduates with non-teaching backgrounds could help by working as teachers, “but many people like this can’t teach because they aren’t licensed.” Additionally, Chen thinks that the number of teaching professionals is not enough, and the age restrictions on teachers coming from outside areas to Beijing is effecting the amount of talent that reaches the city. “Since the rules went into effect a few years ago, teachers of low grades can’t come to Beijing after the age of 35, and teachers of higher grades can’t come after the age of 45.”


Kindergartens Also Face Teacher Shortages

Kindergartens are also saying there aren’t enough teachers. According to Li Jianli, Principal and Secretary of the Mianhua Hutong Kindergarten, there is currently a severe lack of teachers, and even teachers with associates degrees are in high demand. More teachers are needed due to the expansion of the school and its number of classes over the past few years. Additionally, there are certain limits on the age of teachers in training, which means Beijing’s graduating students will have no way to fill the demands of expanding schools.

Li Jianli explained that the kindergarten needs to hire about ten teachers per year, but due to the current situation and teacher numbers, the school still needs more than twenty kindergarten teachers.


Response: Beijing Municipal Education Working Committee Says Problems with Organization, Not Supply and Demand

Xian Lianping, Deputy Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Education Working Committee, explained that the lack of teaching resources is balanced in terms of supply and demand, but that there are problems with organization.

According to Xian Lianping, Beijing municipality conducted research and made forecasts about teaching resource demands in 2011 when it began the Pre-Education Three Year Action Plan. At that time, there was a forecasted gap of about 10 thousand kindergarten teachers, but it has gotten smaller since then. He said that in order to boost early education teaching resources, the city should first rely on existing early education training organizations by increasing their scale as necessary, and second build some new schools focused on early education training.

Xian Lianping explained that Beijing’s elementary and middle school teaching resources balanced as well, but that there are some organizational issues. “For example, there aren’t enough music, art, and gym teachers in the suburbs, and there’s a lack of high-level foreign language teachers too.” Xian said that urban areas, especially some famous schools, are flooded with resources, and that outlying ares and the suburbs are perpetually lacking. Different areas have different situations, but the current conflict on which they are focusing is the insufficient resources in suburban areas.


Analysis: Border Areas, Mountainous Regions, and the Countryside are Lacking Teachers, Says Dean of Beijing Institute of Education

Li Fang, Dean of the Beijing Institute of Education, feels that with the more than 30 thousand licensed teachers currently working in Beijing, and with the approximately three thousand additional teachers starting to work every year, the overall picture does not show a lack of teachers, but of structural deficiencies.

Dean Li explained that teaching positions are all essentially filled within the capital, and that the lack of resources is in the countryside, mountainous areas, and the border areas of the region. Due to the upcoming spike in incoming elementary school students, a shortage of elementary school teachers is developing. Shortages of computer science teachers, english teachers, arts teachers, as well as teachers of outstanding quality, are also issues.

Dean Li also pointed out that although the number of individuals taking the teaching licensing test has increased significantly over the past few years, both teaching majors and non-teaching majors are sometimes lacking in proper training and preparation, so failure rates on the test are rather high.



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Beijing’s Chaoyang District Closing All Migrant Schools Over Next Two Years

January 14, 2013

Xinjingbao reports all eighteen migrant schools in the Chaoyang District of Beijing will be shut down over the next two years. In addition, construction will begin on three elementary schools and five kindergartens in the urbanizing rural areas, while admissions capabilities are expanded at existing facilities in order to manage the inflow of both local […]

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