BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Despite a rapid increase in government financial support, China's poor rural areas were still not attractive to qualified teachers, according to a report of the Ministry of Education released on Monday.
The report said the country's rural areas needed teachers of foreign languages, music, sports, arts and information technology.
Official statistics showed the class-teacher ratio in the nine poorest provinces and regions in western and central China was 1:1.3 in 2006, lower than the national average of 1:1.9.
Apart from that, the increase in teacher numbers lagged behind the fast expansion of boarding schools in rural areas. Qualified teachers were reluctant to move to rural areas as the current human resources management by the education authorities cannot meet their demand, said the report.
Last year there were 379,000 "substitute teachers", or unqualified teachers, nationwide, among which 87.8 percent worked in rural areas. In Guangdong, Guangxi and Gansu, the number of "substitute teachers" accounted for more than 10 percent of licensed teachers in primary schools.
"Substitute teachers" emerged in China's poor areas in 1990s as local governments could not afford to employ licensed teachers. In recent years, they were gradually replaced by graduates from normal universities as the central and local governments allocated more money to support rural education.
However, the report said the quality of rural teachers in primary and junior high schools was still not "optimistic" as more than 40 percent of rural teachers of subjects including Chinese, mathematics, arts, music and sports were not degree holders.
The report also said both experienced and young teachers would not stay at rural schools because of unsatisfactory living conditions and lower income.
In 2006, the average monthly income of teaching staff in primary schools of 273 counties and junior high schools of 210 counties was less than 1,000 yuan (about 143 U.S. dollars).
Besides, many rural teachers had no social insurance. More than60percent of headmasters interviewed said their teachers had no medical insurance.