2021-07-06 06:22:10

In a rare case, authorities in Beijing have removed five public school teachers from their teaching positions for working part-time at private training centers and charging students for tutoring outside regular classes.

Two of the teachers were found to be working part-time with training institutes on weekends or during summer breaks, while another two offered extra paid classes outside of regular school hours, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said in a statement Monday. Meanwhile, the spouse of one of the teachers was found to be using their teaching certificate to work illegally at a training school.

In China, teaching jobs at public schools are considered stable and secure, with teachers unlikely to be fired but for severe offenses, such as sexual abuse. Though the five teachers can no longer teach at their current schools, additional punishment remains unclear.

Monday’s announcement came as education authorities crack down on malpractice in the extracurricular training market. Last month, the Ministry of Education established a new department to rein in China’s burgeoning extracurricular education sector.

While the ministry barred primary and junior middle school teachers from conducting paid tutoring classes or working at extracurricular training centers from as early as 2015, guidelines didn’t specify punishments for violating such rules.

Chu Zhaohui, researcher at the state-run National Institute for Education Sciences, told Sixth Tone that teachers continue to skirt the rules despite education authorities trying to end such practices.

“Many factors can make local regulators simply unaware of the practices,” Chu said. “Many teachers wanting to profit from tutoring sessions don’t even need to rent a classroom.”

Sun Jia, mother of a seventh-grader from eastern Jiangsu province, said many families invite teachers to their homes for lessons outside of school. Sun said this is “an open secret.”

“It’s really difficult to secure such sessions with those reputable teachers — if you’re not familiar enough with them, they won’t accept the invitation,” she told Sixth Tone. “So why would families report them to the authorities?”

Public opinion on whether teachers should be allowed to work additional teaching jobs during their spare time remains divided. While some say it’s only fair for them to make extra income, others argue that part-time work might compromise the teachers’ dedication at the schools where they are employed full time.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: 500px Moment/People Visual)