(China-170) October 26, 2018 – My response to China Daily article about encouraging retirees to return to teach in rural China! See China (167)

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China Daily (comment@chinadaily.com.cn)
Stephen Ling
Email: stephenehling@hotmail.com
WeChat 1962816801

October 26, 2018

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

An Opinion: I am writing this in response to a recent report in China Daily by Zhou Shuo 2018-10-25 on “Online Learning may solve rural teacher shortage”. I want to respond to this one particular paragraph in the report:

“In July, education and financial authorities unveiled the “Silver Age” project, which aims to encourage 10,000 retired teachers to return to work in the next three years as teachers and principals in rural primary and junior middle schools. The former retirees will receive an appropriate salary, boosted by an annual subsidy of 20,000 yuan.”

I have the opportunity to talk to some of my adult friends in China about the government’s attempt to encourage about 10,000 retired teachers to teach in rural China. Most of them do not think the retired teachers would be interested to return to rural China for different reasons: maybe they want to stay close to their children and grandchildren; maybe they are not willing to endure difficult living conditions there; maybe they feel they would be too isolated from health and medical facilities available where they now live; maybe they are tired of teaching and now prefer to enjoy their retirement years. They have reasons only they know.

A thought came to me as I read something about the “Silver Age Project” which the Chinese government unveiled in July 2018. I believe many of us Americans who have had the privilege of teaching in China would be happy to return to work with young people in China. I enjoyed my 7 years as a visiting professor in Fujian province, 2008-2014. Recently a dear American friend of mine had to leave China to continue his love for teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam, because China is now enforcing the retirement age for all teachers. He has a Chinese wife in Fujian. I know I would be happy to return to work in rural China because I grew up in rural Malaysia when I was young. My grandparents migrated from Fujian province in 1903 to Malaya (now Malaysia). I spent many holidays with my Chinese university students in their villages because some of their parents are farmers in China. And I happened to love it because I grew up in a farm. So I am optimistic that if the Chinese government would open its doors now to many of us retired American teachers, some of us would be happy to return to work in China. For me, all I want is a place to live in a village. I can take care of myself financially with my American dollars.

I left the Chinese campus in 2015 and spent 3 years writing my 6th book THIS IS CHINIA, now available at Amazon.com. I return to visit China every year because it is my motherland, too.

Give us a chance and we will be happy to work in rural China. I would appreciate if you could connect me to the right people in the Ministry of Education. I look forward to continuing to work with young students in China. A teacher will always be a teacher. Thanks.

 

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