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2019-10-23 10:51:01

A southern Chinese city’s goal of luring the best and brightest teachers with six-figure salaries seems to have paid off.

The education bureau of Longhua District in Shenzhen said its recruitment for the year has reached a “perfect ending,” with nearly 500 of 35,000 highly qualified candidates — most holding a master’s or doctoral degree — selected for teaching jobs, according to a statement published Tuesday. In September, the bureau had announced its drive to recruit 400 primary, middle, and high school educators with annual salaries of up to 300,000 yuan ($42,400), depending on the candidate’s level of education.

The bureau said the strategy was aimed at “attracting and retaining talent.”

In recent years, many second- and third-tier Chinese cities have ramped up efforts to charm recent graduates from larger hubs like Beijing and Shanghai by offering higher salaries and preferential policies for hukou, a household registration document conferring a range of social benefits. Shenzhen’s salary scheme is a prime example of such policies, as teachers in the city are being offered nearly three times more than the 92,383 yuan on average received by public schoolteachers elsewhere in China.

As the city’s population grows, local authorities have also funneled more money into public schools, especially ones in newly designated districts. The city’s education bureau has invested 12 billion yuan in Longhua alone, and has spearheaded at least 10 school renovations and expansions in each of the last three years.

Though Shenzhen’s generous salary package for teachers has astounded many online, some locals told Sixth Tone they aren’t surprised by the city’s efforts to attract new talent, given how far behind they feel Shenzhen is compared with other first-tier cities. The city has been criticized in the past for supposedly failing to provide inclusive education for all.

Xiong Bingqi, vice president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a Beijing-based think tank, told Sixth Tone that while higher compensation is a good way to attract fresh talents to serve as teachers, authorities can’t expect this alone to solve the city’s education problems.

“Education inequality exists everywhere, between public schools and private schools, between cities and rural areas,” Xiong said. “Recruiting more recent graduates to work as teachers is just one small aspect. Education inequality is a much more complex problem that requires changes to the overarching system.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Eastfenceimage/VCG)