A new teacher training program has been created for men in Fujian province, Beijing News reported on Sept. 26.
The project was initiated last year by the Fujian Provincial Education Department, together with three other local departments and five teacher training universities. The purpose of the program is to ease the serious gender imbalance among primary school and kindergarten teachers.
The project continues this year, with 500 male participants receiving free training. Wang Yimei (a pseudonym), a female student at a teachers’ college, believes that the project itself is a kind of gender discrimination. She sent an application to the provincial legislative affairs office for a legal review of the policy on Sept. 22, but has not yet received a reply.
An education major at Fujian Normal University said that although the project may succeed in changing the current proportion of male to female teachers in schools, the men-only policy is nevertheless unfair to women.
“In terms of employment, the project will put huge pressure on female graduates,” she pointed out.
“Perhaps the original intention of the policy was good, but the unilateral reduction of education fees is unfair for girls. We can call it a kind of sex discrimination,” said Liu Xiaonan, associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law.
According to Liu Yan, a professor at Beijing Normal University, many places in China have implemented free teacher training programs for men, aiming to encourage male students to choose primary school and kindergarten education majors. However, unsatisfactory pay is the main reason there are fewer male teachers at primary schools and kindergartens, Liu pointed out. If there is no change in the current situation, newly trained male teachers may still change their occupations in the future.