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Degrading teacher ethics ring alarm in China  

2014-10-13 20:54:42|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 A spate of scandals regarding teachers in China has not only underscored degrading ethics in the profession, but also shamed the country's education authorities for lax inspection.

On Sunday, southwest China's Sichuan Fine Arts Institute barred Wang Xiaojian, a retired associate professor, from attending any of the institute's teaching, research and academic activities, after pictures of him forcibly kissing and sexually harassing two female students in a restaurant circulated on the Internet.

Coincidentally, Wang's fall from grace came just one day after the Ministry of Education issued a guideline on ethics for university professors, a provision aimed at enhancing ethical conduct among education staff.

The guideline, which bans college staff from sexually harassing or engaging in improper relationships with students, aims at curtailing China's scandal-ridden education sector amid growing public disquiet.

It also puts forward seven prohibitions for college teachers, promising sanctions for violators. The provisions include conduct undermining national or student interests, research fraud and plagiarism.

A haze of corruption has shrouded China in recent years, and the toxic trend has spread to ivory towers, engulfing teachers, who are traditionally regarded role models of high moral standard.

Teaching staff with rotten character will wield a very bad influence on students. Teachers should strive to nurture and help students fulfill their potential, including their character. Those students who make it to college deserve an education free from corruption and misconduct.

Immoral conduct will not only result in disparagement in a society traditionally respectful towards teachers, but lead student astray, particularly at a time when we are exposed to myriad information every day.

But teacher's ethics are not degrading. The education sector is.

 Lowered ethical standards have reflected loopholes with China's education system, characterized by a dearth of sufficient inspection and stiff penalties. This has left local officials large room to mull punishment on their own, allowing them to turn a blind eye to corruption and misconduct.

To plug the loopholes, specific inspection teams should be established to reverse the course of the degrading trend, while colleges should set up mechanisms to factor into the equation a teachers' moral standards alongside their academic achievements.

The government needs to step up law enforcement. China does not lack regulations. It is the patchy enforcement of such regulations at the local level that has fueled a surge in these incidents.

The recent case also drove home the message that students must learn to protect their legitimate rights and report to police if any corruption or harassment occurs. Such supervision coupled with societal participation will serve as an ever-present incentive for teachers to maintain moral behavior and effectively improve a sector overrun with scandal. 

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