Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sun Jingxia, 53, is one of hundreds of thousands of nonprofessional, or "barefoot" teachers in China: peasants with little more than a vocational school certificate who help teach their less educated neighbors.

After years of sacrifice, they are now being cast aside in favor of younger, better educated candidates. It's simply the price of reform, some experts say.

But because this is China, a policy to slowly phase out and compensate the barefoot teachers never happened as planned. Instead, corruption has meant that some unqualified teachers have landed the coveted positions people like Sun believe they deserve. She has a stack of awards including this one, from 1984.