Teachers will get a lesson for accepting gifts

Updated: 2015-09-11 06:23

By ZHOU WENTING(China Daily)

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Teachers will get a lesson for accepting gifts

Students give their teachers handmade certificates of merits to express their gratitude on Thursday, Teachers' Day, at a primary school in Handan, Hebei province. HAO QUNYING /CHINA DAILY

Parents in Shanghai give presents to ensure their children get more attention, opportunities

Teachers in Shanghai who have accepted gifts or cash from students or their parents will be disqualified from applying for professional titles that confer higher rank and more pay, the municipal education commission announced ahead of Teachers' Day, which fell on Thursday.

The latest action seeks to further curb gift-giving by parents seeking more opportunities or individual attention for their children. The school district previously barred teachers from accepting gifts or other perks.

Reform of evaluation methods used in bestowing professional titles on teachers is ongoing across the country. The city's core reform centers on teachers' professional ethics, the Shanghai Education Commission announced on Tuesday, two days ahead of the national Teachers' Day, when teachers are typically thanked for their work.

Parents and education experts say the practice of giving gifts on Teachers' Day is widespread and they applauded the education commission's move to further discourage the practice.

One father, who has a 15-year-old daughter in an elite high school in Yangpu district, described the gifts as "clearly a sort of bribe".

"Most parents feel anxious before the Teachers' Day because they don't dare to go against the unspoken rule of giving teachers some practical benefits to ensure the child isn't left out by teachers," said the father, who asked not to be identified.

Zhou Yanli, a mother of a third-grader at a primary school in Hongkou district, said she gave a shopping card worth 500 yuan ($79) to her daughter's teacher in each semester in the past two years.

"My child is modest and shy and performs average academically. I hope the teacher will pay more attention to my child's schoolwork and overall development," Zhou said.

She said it is common for parents to give presents to teachers in an exchange for more opportunities for their children at school.

"But there are also some teachers who turn down any form of gifts, saying they don't want such a practice to contaminate the dignity and honor of teachers," Zhou said.

Before the school semester began earlier this month, the Ministry of Education released guidelines that banned teachers from asking for or accepting gifts, vouchers, prepaid cards and cash from students and their parents.

Teachers also are prohibited from attending dinners arranged by students and parents that may affect student evaluation. They are also banned from participating in travel, leisure activities and entertainment paid by students' parents.

Yang Xiong, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said a mechanism for reporting teachers who violate the rules must be established.

"Schools and education commissions can publish some severe single cases as a deterrent and make teacher behavior better supervised by the public," Yang said.

Liu Zizi, a teacher from a private high school in the city's Xuhui district, is among those instructors who reject all material gifts from students.

"The most precious present for teachers is the sincere respect and complete trust from students and parents," she said.