Gifting still rife on Teachers’ Day

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-11 0:53:01

Teachers in China on Tuesday celebrated the 29th Teachers' Day while trying to resist the gifts from students' parents, after the Ministry of Education said it would punish those who violated professional ethics.

A kindergarten teacher, surnamed Hao, in Beijing told the Global Times that she turned down several shopping cards worth as much as 1,000 yuan ($163.4) again this year. In Zhejiang Province, the phone bill of a teacher, surnamed Ye, was paid by her students as a gift.

An unnamed mother whose daughter is at an elementary school in Beijing said parents are left with no choice in pursuit of a better education for their children.

"Elementary school kids are not ranked by their grades, so they must please their teachers so as to be recommended to a better junior high school," said the mother.

The mother added that everyone in her daughter's class came back with gifts on Tuesday even though the school told them not to do so.

"My sister, who is also an elementary teacher, once told me that she forgot the children who had offered the gift but remembered those who did not, adding to my belief to follow this trend," the mother told the Global Times.

Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow from the National Institute of Educational Sciences, told the Global Times that students should be allowed to express gratitude to their teachers through gift-giving, while authorities must strengthen the regulation on the price of the gifts to prevent bribery.

Wang Hongcai, an education professor at Xiamen University, pointed out that society has affected the atmosphere at school and the relationship between students and teachers has gone sour since it became benefit-based.

"Parents take the proper time to act improperly every year with businesses also sending the wrong signals with sales promotions," Wang said, adding that the root of the problem is backdoor connections, which are particularly dominant in government bodies, so authorities must regulate themselves first before expecting schools to preserve their integrity.

"I understand that parents want more care from teachers for their children, but I prefer handmade greeting cards from students if they have to gift me," Hao said.

Chai Rong, a press officer with the Beijing No.22 High School, told the Global Times that every faculty staff was offered a flower at the school gate on Tuesday to show the school's respect and appreciation.

"Everyone knows that the most valuable gift is students' advancement in study and that parents do not need to provide a tangible gift to say thank you," Chai said.

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