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July 17, 2009

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Foreign teachers' pay reviewed

NEW guidelines have been released on salary levels for foreign teachers employed by China's higher education institutions.

A pre-tax monthly salary of up to 15,000 yuan (US$2,195) for the most experienced teachers in first-tier cities like Shanghai has been suggested in draft guidelines released by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

It is the first time in nearly a decade that the administration has released salary guidelines for full-time foreign teachers working in the nation's universities and colleges.

The previous guidelines were issued in 2000, when the average pre-tax ceiling recommended by the administration for foreign teachers stood at 6,000 yuan a month.

The latest guidelines have for the first time categorized both salaries and teachers in three tiers, covering seniority and specific areas.

"The guidelines were formulated after gathering data across the country," said Huang Weimao, of the international cooperation division of the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Huang stressed that the guidelines were for institutions to use as a yardstick and were not mandatory.

The pay rise percentage suggested is almost the same as Shanghai residents' average income increase in the same period. This jumped from 1,295 yuan in 2000 to 3,292 yuan as of last year.

"Taking into account accommodation subsidies or free accommodation, most Shanghai universities surpass the minimum salary levels in each category," said Dong Qi, a former director with Tongji University's foreign affairs division.

In the new guidelines, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs has categorized salaries into three levels according to the foreign professionals' educational background, experience and the location of institutions.

Three zones - east coastal developed areas, developing central areas and underdeveloped western areas - are identified and levels of local living costs are taken into account.

The monthly salary levels suggested for the three tiers of experience in the east coast zone, covering Shanghai, are 3,500-4,800 yuan a month, 4,200-7,600 yuan a month and 6,700-15,000 a month, respectively.

"Many universities in Shanghai are making their education more globalized, with more lessons taught in English and more foreign professionals involved," Dong said.

The state administration said it welcomed opinions from both teachers and institutions and would modify the draft guidelines accordingly.


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