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Reducing pressure on teachers a just demand

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 08:20


More than 40 days after Song Kai, a 38-year-old associate professor at Nanjing Forestry University, committed suicide, his death continues to stir controversy. Reportedly, he had failed to pass the annual review and would have been demoted to the post of lecturer. The pressure young college faculty members face is real. Quite many universities adopt the "up or quit" policy, under which a young faculty member must quit the job unless he/she gets promoted to a higher rank within a certain period.

As a result, fewer people are choosing basic science subjects such as math and physics that are the foundation for the nation's innovation, because it is more difficult to make breakthroughs in these fields that help their promotion.

That is a matter that doing away with the "up or quit" system will not help. The "up or quit" policy plays a key role in keeping college faculty on their toes. The policy stems from the pressing need for faculty members to make more academic achievements so their universities can be the winner in their competitions.

But the "up or quit" policy should be adjusted. As early as 2020, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Education jointly issued a document that demanded colleges to set a time span for reviewing performance, while many called for improving the review standard to reduce the pressure on young faculty members. Song's tragedy shows that the demand remains very much relevant today.

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