Sixty-five new public schools will open today as the city works to meet demand due to an influx of migrant children and the rise of new communities in the suburbs, Shanghai authorities said yesterday.
The Shanghai Education Commission said 57 of the new schools are in the city’s outskirts such as Fengxian, Songjiang, Qingpu and Jiading districts. These areas include a large population of migrant workers and relocated residents from downtown.
The schools include 37 kindergartens, 10 primary schools, nine middle schools, four high schools, four nine-year education schools and a six-year secondary school. The schools cover a combined 239,000 square meters, or the size of about 32 football fields, and cost 3.22 billion yuan (US$526 million), the commission said.
Building schools has also required the recruitment of new teachers. Many teachers have been unwilling to teach in suburban schools due to inconvenient traffic and the belief that downtown schools guarantee brighter career prospects.
“Nearly all of the teachers we have recruited live in our district,” said Hu Aihua, principal of Fengxian Fushan Foreign Language Primary School, which opens today in a large residential community in Fengxian District.
Hu said the new school has 125 first graders and 20 teachers.
Half of the teachers are from other schools in Fengxian while the others have graduated from college recently. One of the school’s teachers is from Anhui Province while the rest are Fengxian residents.
“There is less turnover among the staff if their families live here,” Hu added.
There is still a quality gap between downtown and suburban schools.
To address this, the education commission has asked veteran principals and teachers to provide guidance to new teachers. Some of the new schools have been paired with elite downtown schools. Teachers from the downtown schools will visit the new schools regularly to help them develop.
It is estimated about 190,000 preschoolers will start kindergarten today.
To meet the growing demand, the commission also approved the construction of 36 private kindergartens and 74 day care centers this year.