"Teachers are the engineers of the human soul and disseminators of human civilization. They are tasked with the mission of the times — to spread knowledge, ideas and truth."
- Xi Jinping
A speech at a national education meeting
Sept 10, 2018Fourth grade students ask a teacher questions about the new semester at a primary school in Wenming Yao township, Rucheng county, Hunan province on Sept 1, 2021.[Photo/Xinhua]
Today is Teachers' Day in China.
President Xi Jinping has paid close attention to education ever since he took office. He has on multiple occasions visited schools, talked with and written to teachers, lauding their hard work in nurturing young people.
"It would be good fortune for one to have a good teacher; it would be an honor for a school to host great teachers. Constantly giving rise to such outstanding teachers would bestow hopes on a nation," Xi said during a visit to Beijing Normal University in 2014.
Recalling his years at school, Xi is grateful for what he learned from his teachers.
"I have received instruction from many teachers. They taught me knowledge as well as how to be an upright person, which has benefited me enormously," he said when chatting with teachers and students during his 2014 visit.
The classrooms for primary school students at the Beijing Bayi School, where President Xi Jinping spent his primary and junior high school years, are seen in this picture taken in the 1950s. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi began his junior middle school years in 1965 at the Beijing Bayi School. After decades, he still clearly remembered what he learned then.
Xi recalled that during the Chinese classes, he was deeply moved by his teacher Chen Qiuying's lectures on the works of Du Fu, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
"The poems show compassion for people's miseries, and are full of humanity," he said. Since then, Xi fell in love with the poems of Du, and also developed a strong interest in Chinese classics.President Xi Jinping talks with veteran teachers at Beijing Bayi School during a visit on Sept 9, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
In September 2016, Xi went back to his alma mater and expressed his gratitude to Chen, among other teachers.
"You were strict with us during those years. But in retrospect, I benefited from your teachings for life," Xi said to his former teachers.Teacher Zhou Hongjun holds a pupil up to help him write on the blackboard at a teaching site in Xinhe village, Wangdong township, Rongshui Miao autonomous county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, May 28, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
He has many times acknowledged their efforts in nurturing talent for the nation.
In a 2014 letter to graduates from Baoding University of Hebei province who taught in western areas, Xi said: "You answered the call of the country to teach in grassroots schools in western and border areas for a dozen years, as if the long journey were only but a day. Your persistence and deeds are moving."
In a letter to eight senior professors from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2018, Xi said: "At such an advanced age, you remain true to your original aspiration and are concerned with the nurturing of the country's successors. I am deeply touched by your spirit."Teacher Wang Beihai teaches his student Chen Weiyu how to make a phone call at a primary school in Dabaidi township, Ruijin city, Jiangxi province, May 8, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi believes education is fundamental to the country's cause of national rejuvenation. He called for giving priority to education, and developing education in a way that satisfies people.
"The Party and the entire society need to promote the social norms of respecting teachers and valuing education. Efforts should be made to enhance the political, social and professional status of teachers so they can enjoy their due social prestige and make greater contributions to the cause of the Party and the people by imparting knowledge and educating people," Xi said during a speech at the 2018 national education meeting.
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