Teachers fired in single-child row

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 May, 2007, 12:00am

Hundreds of temporary teachers in Bobai county, Guangxi , are fighting to keep their jobs as a result of the local authorities' poor management of birth-control policies.

The rural backwater in southeastern Guangxi attracted international attention last week after three days of riots in 28 towns over the local government's brutal enforcement of the one-child policy. Order was restored only after the Guangxi government called in thousands of cadres from nearby areas to help.

While many families that violated the birth-control regulations complained of being arbitrarily fined and abused, Bobai teachers said they also were victims.

On the mainland, the number of teachers allocated to each county is based on the number of registered children in the area. But because of the lax enforcement of birth control regulations in Bobai in the past, its real number of school students is many times higher than the registered figure.

To cope with the shortfall, local authorities have hired about 3,000 temporary teachers to help out. They have to perform the same duties as government teachers but are paid only about 250 yuan a month - a quarter of the salary of a government teacher, one temporary teacher said.

A higher-level government discovered this year that Bobai had failed to carry out the one-child policy and had been constantly understating the number of its school students. It subsequently issued a warning to the local government.

One teacher said: 'They [the Bobai government] have started to lay us off. Hundreds of temporary teachers have already lost their jobs. We have been asking the authorities to raise our pay to the same level as our colleagues, because basically we perform the same job duties. But instead of a pay rise, we get fired.'

He accused the local authorities of trying to hide the problem, saying they should face reality.

The teachers went to Nanning last month to petition the Guangxi Autonomous Region government, without response.