On one of the domestic flights in China, I read in the inflight magazine, a sad story about poor substitute teachers in rural China.
Instead of getting a permanent position, they are only assigned a “substitute teacher” status, even though they Do work full-time.
Their pay per month, is the unbelievably small amount of 40 Yuans. ($6.2 USD)
This translates to an hourly rate of 0.15 cents per hour.
It is such a small amount of money, even by Chinese standards.
To give you an idea, a Soy Latte in Starbucks, in Shanghai, is around 31 Yuans, or almost what a rural teacher earns per month.
In many restaurants in Shanghai (not even the high-end ones), you will pay this amount for an appetizer, and double than this for a main course.
Nike, the sport shoe company, manufactures all of its shoes in the third world, where they pay their workers a minuscule amount as salaries, no benefits and terrible working conditions.
Indonesian Nike Factory’s workers make $2.46 a day (or 0.30 cents per hour, still double than Chinese teachers in rural poor places in China.)
Vietnamese Nike Factory’s workers make $l.60 a day or 0.20 cents per hour.
Chinese Nike Factory’s workers make $1.75 a day or 0.22 cents per hour.
Occasionally, thousands of workers go on strike, to demand a ONE cent per hour raise in wages.
Before you turn the page to read something nicer, dismissing this as another modern day problem that we can do nothing about…. and we do need to buy sport shoes after all…..
Think of this…
NOT ALL sports shoe companies are the same.
New Balance, is a company that manufactures most of the sports shoes in the USA and the UK.
They pay workers an average of THIRTY times more than Nike does.
Nike shoes are NOT ANY BETTER than others shoes.
They are simply better at marketing campaigns and….. Keeping more of the profits.
Philip Knight, the CEO of Nike, is the sixth richest man in America with a net worth of 5 billion dollars.
Nike pays celebrities like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, SIXTY MILLION dollars, to endorse their products.
They spend more than $900 Million Dollars per year in advertising cost, mostly aiming to convince poor gullible people living in projects in the USA or the UK, that their product is superior to other brands.
And what about those poor teachers in rural China?…
In charge of educating new generations of young children….
Well… I know that I felt a strong urge to help….maybe setting up a fund to help them… A small amount can go so far…..
But China is very good at ignoring its own problems, putting on a face of a modern, liberal and “just” country… and blocking all exterior help.
Yet, it is still full of corruption while sweeping many of its injustices and annoying favoritism under the rug…
My hope and wish is that they will recognize that these rural teachers, are in charge of a precious Chinese commodity…. The young children who will make our future…
Maybe one day they will understand the importance of paying their teachers enough that they will be able to live with dignity and be proud and joyful to be teachers….. No matter how far they live from the visible urban hubs.