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August 30, 2013

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Elite school principals head to suburbs

Some of the best principals from downtown schools have been handed additional tasks of putting their experience into work at some of the suburban schools as local educational authorities attempt to lift the standards of the schools outside city center.

Nine downtown school chiefs, who have been awarded the city’s top level title of Special Grade Principals, have been selected to spend two years at suburban schools from next month. The Shanghai Education Commission said it was aimed at balancing the city’s educational resources.

The principals will head to the suburbs four days in a week but their posts in downtown schools remain unchanged.

The nine principals from six districts signed an agreement yesterday with the schools they would be working with. They include rural schools, low-performing schools and newly built schools in eight suburban districts such as Baoshan, Fengxian and Songjiang districts and Chongming County.

“From our past experience, we discovered that sending good principals was one of the most effective ways to improve a school’s quality and educational level.

“Since downtown schools have more elite principals, we decided to introduce the new system to encourage them to go to suburban areas,” said Lu Jing, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission.

Lu said while it was easy to improve a school’s infrastructure, it was hard to ensure that all students get the best possible education.

Shen Deqian, vice principal and Party secretary of Dahushan Road No. 1 Primary School in Yangpu District, will head to a primary school in Jinshan District.

The distance between the schools is 80 kilometers, meaning Shen will be on the road for nearly an hour and a half.

“Since I’ve volunteered for the program, I’m not worried about the distance. What I’m thinking about is how to help the school improve in the next two years,” Shen said.

Shen said she will first try and understand the overall situation of the school and then come up with a plan on curriculum, activities and school management.

Yan Xiaofeng, principal of Shanghai Liaoyang Middle School, has been given the task of dealing with issues at a newly built school in Baoshan District.

The evaluation for the special-grade principal title is carried out every three years. This year, 50 principals from local kindergartens, primary, middle and high schools were granted the title. 



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