By: Lanka (Wang Hongchun/王洪春)
“If I were a boy, I’d chase after girls and kick it with who I wanted.” As Beyoncé sings in her songs. While if I were a boy, I’d chase after my goals and do whatever I want to for boys always get more attention and freedom.
Fujian Provincial Education Examinations Authority published a paper on Nov.16 saying that boys can attend normal school without payment. It claims this preferential policy for boys is aimed at attracting more male teachers into kindergarten and primary school since there is a severe shortage of male teachers in the education of transit to primary school. However, it arouses a big controversy in the society.
The proportion of female teachers in the kindergarden and primary school is quite high, which is a common phenomenon in China. Even some kindergarden or primary school does not have any male teachers other than the security guard, as Miss Chen, an administrator of the kindergarten affiliated to Xiamen University, tells me. According to the Office of Education, they do have the data to show that female teachers accout for 61.6% in the education of transit to primary school. As for normal school, boys only accout for 18%. Generally speaking, male teacher is rare.
I do admit that children need male teachers as well as female teachers in terms of a balance between male and female in growing-up cause gender difference affects them in a different way.
However, is it fair for females when lowering the standards only for males? Absolutely not. This policy is set to encourage more boys to attend normal schools and work for the education of transit to primary school, which is good in concept, but not feasible in practice.
The reason is rather obvious because it is unfair for females who want to attend primary school. “I do disapprove this policy because it’s unfair.” One schoolgirl in Fujian Normal University says, “Everyone shall be equal opportunity to receive education.”
For another, that the number of male teachers increases must leads to a decrease of female teachers for the demand is almost the same. For instance, if we only have five vacant positions and we used to employ five girls, but now we hire two boys so that there are only three remained for girls. Thus, girls need to try harder to get this position because of the policy, not because of competitiveness issue. This is, totally unfair.
As far as I’m concerned, what really counts in making a balance between male teachers and female teachers is salary and social status. The average salary for teachers in kindergarden and primary school is about 3,000 RMB and even far less in some remote areas. Men can not feed his family only depending on this. In addition, males teaching children are regarded as an unseemly job in Chinese culture. Chinese always expect successful males to be a leader such as lawyer or business man with more power and money.
We can, therefore, come to an conclusion that, this policy may cure the symptoms, but not the disease. What’s more, it can also trigger new problems like injustice to the girls. Girls shall not say, ”If I were a boy, I can get more and do better.”
Footnote: This feature writing course has been cited from students’ feature stories at Xiamen University in China, supervised by a lecturer, Dr. Siti Suriani Othman of USIM (Malaysia University of Islamic Sciences), as a Visiting Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Xiamen University, China, from 3 November to 27 December 2015.
Lanka (Wang Hongchun/王洪春) is a Third Year Student at the College of Journalism and Communication, Xiamen University, China.