Not only students but also teachers will be encouraged to study harder in the next century — to brush up their teaching and guiding abilities to meet the changing needs of kids, according to an advisory panel to the education minister.In its final report released Thursday, the Educational Personnel Training Council pointed out the importance of upgrading the quality of teaching staff at elementary and secondary schools to “promote urgently needed educational reform in a fast-changing society.”To let teachers learn new teaching techniques or receive specialized training in such fields as child counseling, the panel suggested that graduate schools establish special educational courses for teachers.For example, the schools should set up shorter, intensive courses through which teachers can earn a master’s degree in a year instead of two, or longer, part-time courses to be taken in evenings or on weekends, the report says.The panel also recommended that the government change the teachers’ work conditions to allow them long absences for pursuit of further study. It should offer special benefits to teachers who earn a master’s degree in education or received specialized training for their jobs.

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