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September 10, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Teachers face gifts headache

TEACHERS' Day today is creating a headache for Woody Zhu, a local kindergarten teacher.

As a new teacher, Zhu is worried about how to return gifts including World Expo tickets, mooncakes and cash from parents after the kindergarten ruled that teachers could not accept generous presents from students this year.

Some parents misunderstood her refusal as dissatisfaction and replaced the gifts with even more luxurious ones. Some even topped up her SIM card without her permission or gave her their gift and leave quickly, despite her refusal.

Zhu is one of many teachers who reap a big harvest around Teachers' Day. Some stores even see the day as a great promotional opportunity to sell their goods.

According to an online survey, about 58 percent of parents worry that teachers will be biased against their children if they don't send gifts when most other parents do.

Only 26.6 percent of 4,000-plus respondents to the China Youth Daily survey said they sent gifts to teachers out of appreciation and recognition of their work.

Sixty-five percent said that they expected the teachers to treat their children better after receiving the gifts.

The Beijing Evening News reported that an unruly boy was made class monitor after his father sent a 1,000 yuan (US$147) watch to his teacher.

The price of gifts to teachers has kept rising and a luxury trip to Japan and jewelry and cosmetics are among favorite choices.

"The gift-sending behavior is an actually a bribe to teachers who have power," said Cao Jingxing, a Chinese commentator and TV host. He said a card and a letter from students would make the teachers feel appreciated, but the gift-sending custom had now become a burden for parents, who worried that teachers would treat their children badly if their gifts were too cheap.

Stone Gong, the mother of an eight-year-old girl, has spent hundreds of yuan to send gifts to teachers every year since the girl was in kindergarten. She said: "Thinking about a suitable gift to teachers is always a headache."

In the survey, about 62 percent people said they would support the education authorities putting forward regulations to ban gifts.


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