Draft amendment to China’s Teachers Law to regulate rights, obligations and competency undergoes public consultation

Lin Xiaolian gives an English lesson to sixth graders at Beili Primary School on Beili Island in Xuwen county, South China’s Guangdong Province, September 1, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

China’s Ministry of Education on Monday issued a notice for public consultation on the draft amendment of the Teachers Law, which will establish an award mechanism for teachers who have made significant contributions to education. The draft amendment is open to public consultation until December 20.

The draft revision also regulates the basic rights and obligations of teachers, including the right to assess students’ behavior and academic performance as well as the rights to praise, reward, criticize and discipline students, according to the draft revision.

Teachers in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools shall pay attention to protecting the personal safety and legitimate rights and interests of the minors and stop campus bullying and other harmful behaviors.

The draft amendment also raises the standard of qualifications required for certified teachers. For instance, the draft revision requires a bachelor’s degree or above from higher-educational institutions majoring in education or other related majors for teaching in primary or secondary schools. The current law requires the graduation from secondary normal school or above to be qualified to be a teacher in a primary school.

Ethics are one of the most important criteria for assessing teachers. According to the draft revision those who commit violations, including having an “inappropriate relationship” with students or having a bad performance that could seriously damage the reputation of teachers, could be fired, their certification revoked and banned to apply for recertification within five years. Those teachers who make public statements violating the Constitution and damaging the reputation of the Party and the country will also be punished according to the law.

If the case constitutes a crime, criminal responsibility shall be investigated according to law.

Foreign teachers who have obtained the qualification shall teach in China in accordance with the relevant regulations on foreign teachers.

The draft revision includes nine chapters with 57 items, which regulate the management mechanism and the duties, basic rights, obligations and certification qualifications.

China’s Teachers Law, enacted in 1993, for the first time thoroughly regulated the rights, obligations, competency and other matters of teachers. In January 2018, China promulgated an initiative to comprehensively deepening the reform of the development of teaching in the new era. Article 26 of the communique mentioned that related departments should consider revising the regulations on teachers. 

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