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PhD Holders Teaching Secondary Schools Turn Heads in China

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The education authority of Hangzhou recently published a list of teachers who joined the city's public high schools in February.


This is a normal routine and would have gone unnoticed 9 times out of 10. What made this notice catch the attention of the people was the number of master's and PhD holders on the list.


▲Part of the list with a PhD highlighted.


Of 186 teachers, 164 had masters degree and 4 had PhD. 


Many people commented that it is a waste for a PhD to teach secondary school or K-12 students.


Dr. Jia Ke, 27 years old, the one whose name is highlighted on the screenshot above, had previously worked at the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences researching computer chips.



She is now teaching IT at Xuejun High School, a top-ranking public school in Hangzhou.


Asked why she chose a high school, she said she thinks it's not necessary for PhD graduates to become professors at universities or do something big.


"My students will gain a lot from my background and knowledge, they might even go into computer chip industry in the future. So, I think it's worth it!"




Zhu Chengyu, a doctoral student in Structural Geology at China University of Geosciences, was scrolling through top news when he read a post about himself. 


He had just received notification that he will be joining Hangzhou No. 2 Middle school as a Geography teacher.


"I never thought that news about a PhD student teaching in middle school would attract so much attention. I read some comments on the news, there are some positive and negative ones, I can totally understand."


He added that traditionally, PhD students are expected to do scientific research-related jobs but his experience at university made him realized that someone should decided that for themselves and do something they like.


But this is not new, a post went viral in July 2020 when Shanghai Municipal HR revealed its latest job offerings followed the vacancy announcement that year. It showed that half of all new teachers who got the posts were doctorates.


Shenzhen Middle School has gone viral after a list of its newly recruited teachers was published online. The list showed 66 new teachers recruited in 2020, among them 39 hold a Master's degree, 21 have PhD and 6 have post doctoral degree.

公众号:宝安外语协会Middle School Goes Viral for Hiring Only Master's and PhDs


In 2021, a middle school in Shenzhen also went viral after news report showed that it hired only masters, PhDs and postdoctorates in 2020.


Furthermore, its 2021 recruitment notice said that the school will consider applications from educators who hold at least a master's degree. 


Employees disagreed that they were offered higher salaries than other teachers. School masters also said the salaries of PhD holders is in line with the standards set by the local governments. Adding that there is no preferential treatment for them.


Experts said that most of the young graduates are choosing more stable jobs and teaching is considered as one. Furthermore, teachers also enjoy long periods of holidays such as summer and winter holidays which other stable occupations don't have.




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