Minister of Education Chen Baosheng was in Shandong Province on July 11 and 12 with a view to evaluating frontline progress on alleviating teacher workload. He visited a number of local colleges, where he was briefed on student moral education, mechanisms to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, internship and training programs, and ties between industry and schools.
He also attended a consultation on reducing the burden often placed on teachers engaged in compulsory education. At the meeting, he heard presentations by representatives of the Shandong Provincial Education Bureau, a number of municipal education departments, as well as several high schools and primary schools, on a number of topics, including family education, teaching force capacity building, college entrance exam reforms, education policy research and educational governance.
Chen noted that teachers lay at the heart of educational reforms and that the central government was committed to reducing burden on teachers. He urged education authorities at sub-national levels not to impose unwarranted inspections, evaluations and events that might distract teachers from doing what they are supposed to and good at. He said that it was important to create a constructive teaching environment encouraging teachers to be dedicated to performing their due responsibilities of imparting knowledge and instilling moral and ethical values in students.
He urged representatives to implement a four-point roadmap: first, identifying disruptions that often added to workload or prevented teachers from fully performing their role, so that measurable goals and targets could be made. Second, a carefully targeted approach was required to identify problems and find fitting solutions to allow teachers to fulfill their potential. He believed that teacher capacity building and management could benefit from this approach. Third, the four pillars of modern education – professional teaching, rules-based management, scientific evaluation, institutionalized capacity building – had to be mainstreamed in order to avoid overloading teachers, and encourage new solutions. Fourth, building a sound governance system that puts teacher development first to create an environment conducive to a more positive overall teaching environment.